Paraty Part 2
Parati, Rio De Janeiro, Brasil
Paraty Part 2: Porque Não?
I closed out my second trip to Paraty and it was just as good as the first time. If I lived here in Brazil forever Paraty would be one of my top local vacation get aways. There is so much to see and do that I don’t even think I have done half of it in two trips!
Day 1: Meeting Up with Mari
Being a holiday weekend with no work and school on Thursday we decided to get out of our little beach town bubble and head to another beach town, I know what a rough life. Last time I traveled to Paraty we rented a car to go and I highly recommend having a car when in Paraty as it is pretty spread out with so many gems easily accessible by car. But this time I was meeting a friend coming with a car so my roommate, Mary Lou, and I took the bus. Taking the bus was a fantastic way to travel, we just sat back, slept, read and meandered our way to Paraty without a care in the world for 8+ hours of holiday traffic.
Mari and her friends, Aline and Fernanda, arrived perfectly around the same time as us. We ate a good local meal (rice, beans, meat) and headed to the adorable Hostel Casa Anis. We picked a hostel a little outside the city center, which I’m sure glad we did. It was easy to get to the center but a bit cheaper and we didn’t get trapped by any holiday tourist traffic. The hostel was also less populated then and we were able to rent the whole room to ourselves. This is technically my first ever hostel stay but I’m not sure it completely counts as we have the room to ourselves it feels more like an AirBnB.
We settled in and relaxed a bit but then headed over to check out the City’s Historical Center. It is an adorable preserved town once colonized by the Portuguese. The center has been a National Historic Site since 1966. The outside of the buildings are preserved in their original textures and colors making you feel like you’re walking through on old colony of the first settlers from Portugal. While preserved on the outside inside each little building is converted inside into new restaurants and shops of all kinds. It is hard to look away at everything as you walk by, but as the cobble stone streets are original, and very unlevel, you really need to look away and at the path in front of you. Beautiful, but not made for walking…. Or biking… or driving…. Come to think of it barely even for the horses and carriage you see occasionally around. But it truly is lovely!
Food there is a little more expensive than normal, but you can find cheap eats still if you are patient and look around a bit. Most have menus in the window, so it is easy. But honestly some nice restaurants are still reasonably priced if you’re not on a low restrictive budget as we tried to stay on.
I did have one exception off this budget for these BEAUTIFUL paintings I found and couldn’t resist. The first time I had been in Paraty I had seen this GORGEOUS painting hanging in the first restaurant we ate in and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I was obsessed with it the whole trip and even when I got back. It was huge but I legit would have asked about buying it for my room if it had seemed practical to afford and take back. Well, walking home this trip I saw a smaller painting like it in a shop, I looked back and actually saw two! With luck we found the shop of the same artist I had admired the first time! She was a very kind, lovely lady with stunning work. You can check more out @renatarosaart. I was obsessed and if I had a house to decorate would have brought one of her large pieces to hang somewhere as they are just gorgeous. I settled for a medium size one that I was drawn to and a smaller one I couldn’t walk away. The colors, the designs, the creativity are just fantastic and will make an amazing addition to the small collection of art I have been slowly gathering from all over the world. I try not to buy cheezy cheap souvenirs at each place I go but instead buy one piece of beautiful artwork and/or jewelry. Brazil has been a mecca of wonderful jewelry and adorable clothes that have made wonderful additions to my majorly lacking daily wardrobe. (I pretty much lived in workout clothes before!) But I had yet to decide on a piece of art I couldn’t live without. Until this piece. I truly believe a beautiful piece of art is a fantastic way to remember any city or country you visit. I typically buy smaller pieces and plan to make an “around the world” mural of art one day when I settle into a place.
Day 2: Well, why not?
Our day started with some breakfast at our cute little hostel. Scrambled eggs which the caretaker there put mint in and was surprisingly pleasant. At least I think it was mint or as my straight forward Dutch friend Mary Lou refers to it “Undetectable green shit in my eggs that I didn’t know what it is”. But it was good!
Today was our hike and waterfall day.
Our first stop was a beautiful jungle trail with bamboo and tropical birds and an easy short hike to arrive at a small but stunning waterfall with a small swimming hole. It was really crowded, and we almost didn’t stay. But having come all that way we couldn’t not take a picture or two, (I know double negative, Maggie don’t kill me) I mean why not? Which lead to we should climb into the waterfall. Which lead to we should jump off this rock. Which lead to we should swim a bit. Which led to we should go to the other small waterfall on the other side of the swimming hole…. I mean, we were already there and that’s what we came to do so porque não? Haha! It was a blast and I could have jumped and swam around for much longer. But we had more waterfalls to see.
Which lead to we should climb into the waterfall. Which lead to we should jump off this rock. Which lead to we should swim a bit. Which led to we should go to the other small waterfall on the other side of the swimming hole…. I mean, we were already there and that’s what we came to do so porque não? Haha! It was a blast and I could have jumped and swam around for much longer. But we had more waterfalls to see.
Being way past lunch time, we stopped at a cute little off the trail kilo restaurant enter to grab some food next to a local cachaça making facility. The proper name is Alambique.
We decided to hike before cachaça though. Tarzan Waterfalls is a waterfall where you can slide down the rock like a natural jungle water park! Some crazy locals even SURF down it! I kid you not, down the waterfall in bear feet. Malucos. (Crazies) We didn’t even joke about surfing down the falls as it looks just absolutely insane and not at all safe. But her lust for adventure is one of the many things I love about Mari, so we did slide down it. I won’t lie I was nervous, and cold, so very cold. Being wet already from the first waterfall and an overcast day it was not the right weather to strip down, be hiking around in a bikini and slide down a waterfall, but porque não? So we left our clothes with our friends, hiked up, sat down and let the guides at the top hurl us down the falls! It was an absolute thrill. I scraped my knee a little and got water in my ears but that was the worst of it and well worth the fun. Mari didn’t have a single thing go wrong so its hit or miss and small risks for the thrill. More than worth the cold and I recommend it. So much so that when the video didn’t take, regardless of how much colder I was, I said “guess we gotta go again!”. We talked Marylou into joining us this time too! And by we I mean Mari, but Marylou had an absolute blast. And regardless of my top almost falling off the second time it went even better! Had it been warmer I would have more than happy to stick around and slide again and again but instead it was time to warm up with some Cachaça!
But take away that “!” away because my face did anything but make an exclamation of excitement with each shot. But they were free and it’s a local tradition so porque não? There is a phrase in Brazil for just this “De graça até injeção na testa“= I would take a shot to the forehead if it was free. Ha!! Too fitting. I’ll try almost anything for free, especially on vacation because, why not? Don’t get me wrong, others enjoyed the cachaça, but it is just not for me, no matter what they flavored it with my face puckered and cringed but quando no Rio, you must try it. Everyone liked the banana and cinnamon if you’re surrounded by flavored options and need some guidance. 😉
The plan originally was to go to a third waterfall that day but still being overcast and getting kind of late we decided to head home, change and head back to the city center to look around more and grab dinner. We settled on a cute little place just outside the center called Manuê with DELICIOUS açaí, mouthwatering crepiocas and all sorts of sandwich and wrap options. I got one of the first açaí I have had since I got to Rio as the ones in my area are just WAY too sweet and filled with condensed guaraná syrup and not enough natural açai flavor left. But this was delicious! I ate an entire 500ml bowl and didn’t even blink an eye. I also picked a 4 cheese crepioca that was drool worthy. I’m drooling right now thinking of it. All of the girls wraps looked and sounded just as delicious.
One of the coolest additions to the whole restaurant was that they sold reusable straws! Its not banned in Paraty like it is in the city of Rio de Janeiro so it was very nice to see a restaurant encouraging such a change. They also come with a proper hand sewn bag to carry it in and a cleaner! I’ve been needing a cleaner for months, so for less than $8 I gladly bought it to keep all my straws clean post smoothies, in a nice case, support a good cause.
Day 3: Hurry Up and Wait
Today we planned to go to a natural swimming hole in Trinidad. All the way at the end of the beach, there is a hike through some twisty turny jungle trails to get to the hole. Being a holiday “todo mundo” (everyone) was there and there was literally a line on the trail for more than half of it, and it was a decent length path. I mean a line in Brazil…. that is not rare or anything (insert major sarcasm here). We got to the hole and as beautiful as the natural rocks and swimming hole was it was so crowded, we had no interest in leaving our stuff somewhere and really swimming around to enjoy it. But if you get a chance to go on a day that’s not a holiday, it would be much more pleasant.
The beach sounded better though so we headed back up the trail this time passing the on-going income of even more people! The trail was fun in general so still worth the hike regardless. Back at the beach we laid out and relaxed, messed around in the waves a bit and just had an all together kick back day.
With luck I got a bit of a rash from something, and I say luck because that meant I stayed in the shade for most of our beach time there for not burning at all! Phew. Being the beginning of summer here my poor skin is not accustomed to the higher intensity of UV here yet but the tan is coming!
There were cute little camping grounds I would love to stay at and a small food stands set up just outside them. We grabbed some snacks and natural coconuts while we lay out and it was a day made in relaxation heaven. When the winds started to kick up a bit later in the day I wrapped up in my beach blanket, thank goodness I got the XL from Sand Cloud, and continued to read my book while everyone else continued to catch some rays. We did not stay too much longer as the cold picked up. When we got back to the hostel the sun was still out, so we all chilled a bit, I drew on the porch, Mary Lou read her book, Mari rolled out her calves and the other two girls slept. Like I said, a relaxation vacation made in heaven. Again that night we returned back to the town center and discovered even more spots and attractions again including some street dogs, whom I of course made friends with, and a street performing clown doing some goofy acts the children went crazy for. None of us being crazy parties each night ended perfectly going home and getting ready for bed and getting a good night’s sleep.
Day 4: Nothing is ever on time in Brazil, but you better be.
So almost nothing arrives on time in Brazil. Especially the people but never plan for anything else to either, yet you damn well better be on time for something or you’ll miss it. HA. We went to a festival today which was very cool to see as a local Capoeira school performed to some live music with neat traditional hand-crafted instruments. We rushed to arrive when it said the festival would start, 11am, and sat around chatting and cuddling puppies until 12:30 when it finally started. We had literally arrived before the performers. But the event was very interesting to experience and neat to see the generations sharing such a long tradition.
Capoeira is a Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines with dance. I was told that It started with slaves in Brazil wanting to practice fighting but they were not allowed to. So they pretended it was a dance to allow them to practice without being caught/get in trouble…. It also has some religious routs as a ritual dance that provided a link to the afterlife. Very interesting and a great cultural experience to enjoy. They seemed to enjoy themselves as they played with each other back and forth to the music and honored their ancestors before them.
After a delicious and rather large local lunch we sped off to the bus so not to be late and said our goodbyes. Luckily for me my goodbyes are see you soon as I will be back with the beautiful Paulistas in December.
Mary Lou and I hopped our Bus back home and it only took about 2+ hours extra this time (6+…). For holiday traffic, and after a relaxing weekend, I will take it. Haha
Places to See/Do:
Paraty Historic Center
Alambique – Cachaca
Places to Stay:
Bring a Car!
Bring a towel to the waterfalls!