After Rio, it’s time to explore the surroundings. The weather isn’t very nice at the moment, so instead of going to Ilha Grande where the main activity is to go from beach to beach, we decide to go to Paraty
Part 1: Travel Diary
Part 2: Practical Tips
Part 1: Travel Diary
Days 1 & 2 :
We take an Uber to go to the bus terminal of Rio. This terminal is located in a crappy area so it is better to go there by cab or Uber. We buy 2 tickets at Costa Verde on the first floor on the right. 90 reais/person for Paraty
The departure is planned at 11 am, but the bus is 20 minutes late and nobody is there to reassure us or to give us an explanation. Fortunately the number of the platform is clearly marked on the tickets otherwise we would have been a little bit worried
Sitting on the left side, we take full advantage of this route which gives the best views of Ilha Grande or beaches known only by locals
We arrive at 3:30 pm and walk a few minutes to our hostel. The atmosphere of the city reassures us immediately. What a relief after these few days of stress in Rio! Almost all the houses have a clay statue at the window: they are “namoradeiras”, loveseaters, very pretty, with the head resting on one hand. These “loveseaters” are present everywhere in Brazil and are vestiges of the past, a time when TV and telephone did not exist, and when women spent their time at the window chatting with the neighbors..
Nowadays, Paraty is a charming little town, whose historical center is entirely paved. However, in the 17th century, it was an important port, allowing to transport the gold discovered in the mountains of Minas Gerais to Portugal
Today, as it rains, the streets of Paraty are flooded. Apparently this is done on purpose: the founders of the small colonial town designed the town this way to allow the rain to clean the cobblestones where the sewers used to drain
It rains a lot during the first 2 days, but as soon as we see a ray of sunshine, we walk in the paved streets of the city, to admire its houses painted in white but whose windows and doors are so colored that it gives a crazy charm to Paraty
The beach and the port are unfortunately disappointing because the water is anything but transparent ..
…but the canal overlooking the beach is super beautiful and lined with pousadas (luxury guesthouses) with swimming pool. Wow!
We take advantage of the bad weather to write about thirty postcards collected in Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. Finally, we can send them, with only 1 month and a half of delay (oops)
Day 3 :
The next day, we take the “Jeep Tour” at Paraty Tours (90 reais/person) to visit the national park next door, which stretches from Sao Paulo to Rio
We are seven in all + a bilingual guide + a driver. Luckily we travel by jeep because the road is full of huge holes (which JB calls “natural pools”). A lot of Brazilians visit the same things we do in normal cars but they don’t go very fast
There is another waterfall at the top, next to a natural swimming pool. The water is a bit cold, I don’t swim, being cold
We have lunch near a river. The restaurant is accessible via a suspension bridge. Max capacity: 2 persons
At the bottom of the river is the Tobogan waterfall. One can let oneself slide on his buttocks (as on a Tobogan), but the most experienced go there while surfing. Moreover every year, there is a surfing competition at this same waterfall. Not to be tried! One risks to break easily a leg or an elbow
We then go to a viewpoint overlooking the bay of Paraty. It’s really a nice place where we can sit on big rocks and enjoy a little breeze while admiring the landscapes that are offered to us. It is well the 1st time that I feel so well in Brazil. I could have stayed there one hour but it is time to go back
From then on, we will spend an evening that is a little less fun
We go to the bus terminal to buy the tickets for Ilha Grande and nobody wants to sell them to us. Several times in a row, we are told to look at the timetable board next to it but there is no timetable for the Paraty – Angra journey. I’m not very happy with myself and my level in Portuguese, it’s starting to annoy me
JB and I are discussing the choice of restaurant for tonight and the discussion turns into an argument. JB thinks we spend too much money on restaurants and I become obsessed with food. This is, in my opinion, proof of an imbalance or deficiency in food. Since Paraguay (i.e. one month), we are in countries where the notion of balanced and cheap food does not exist. To eat well and eat balanced (i.e. without frying), you have to pay a lot (well, expensive is a big word, 10€ to 15€, like in France), and I refuse to impose junk food and suffer like in Paraguay and Uruguay, at the risk of spoiling my stay. And that if you want to save money, you might have to change countries, rather than impose junk food to save money. It’s like going to France and only eating pancakes or baguettes with ham and butter because it’s not expensive. It’s like stopping eating instead of trying to make more money
Prices are high in Brazil, you have to accept it. BTW, the “cook yourself” option isn’t the cheapest either (you have to buy all the sauces and too many ingredients, even for a salad), a trip to the local supermarket did not inspire us at all. Besides, I’ve just done the accounts since we left on our round-the-world trip and we still have some margin compared to the initial budget estimate
In short, after 1H of dispute, we agree on the fact that we will now eat in the restaurant that I want whatever the price. In spite of that, I really don’t feel well, it’s been several weeks that I count the days until our return to France. Our ticket to the world is very flexible and we can change the date to come back to France at any time, at no cost, which is very tempting. Every day I want to change the date and go back ASAP. I can’t take any more junk food! I can’t stand their empañadas fries, which change their name from one country to another, but are still salted slippers soaked in oil. I can’t stand those supermarkets full of frozen food, where you go around in circles without being able to find anything to eat. I can’t stand feeling insecure, not understanding Portuguese, I’m tired, I’m hungry all the time, I’m fed up!
Day 4 :
My body agrees with me. It shows it with red patches all over my arm, neck and a little on my legs. I don’t know if it’s because of the sun, the shrimps I ate 2 days ago, or because of the river water yesterday (although my arms didn’t touch the water). It’s the first time it happened to me. I think it’s because I’m allergic to South America!
This is our day of departure for the Ilha Grande. JB proposes that we stay one more day so that I can rest, but I still prefer to go on the Ilha Grande, I hope that its calm and nature side will calm me down and help me to forget the homesickness
Part 2: Practical Tips
- Uber to the bus terminal from Copacabana: 25 reais
- Rio -> Paraty 90 reais/person with Costa Verde. Regular departures (about every 2 hours)
- Be Happy Paraty Hostel: private room at 150 reais/night, shared bathroom, breakfast included -> I highly recommend
- Food: Paraty is very touristy so restaurants are more expensive than in Rio
- 45 to 70 reais/flat
- If there are musicians playing live, you have to add 10 to 15 reais/table
- Visits : Jeep Tour 90 reais/person at Paraty Tours (that I recommend), lunch not included
- The tours are very accessible (from 60 reais), do not hesitate to ask for advice to the agency Paraty Tours
- There is a tour to Trindade for 80 reais, but it is quite possible to go there by city bus (regular departures from the bus terminal) and visit the beaches and natural swimming pool of this city by yourself. We didn’t go there because of the bad weather the first days
- There are also boat tours, leaving in the morning, to visit many islands around Paraty. The tour costs in the 63 reais. We did not go there either because of the bad weather the first days