Hiking in Paraty
Walks and Hiking in Paraty
The BR101 highway only reached Paraty in the mid 1970s which may help explain why so many places can be reached by hiking in Paraty. To this day for many of the coastal communities there is no road access and the only way continues to be on foot through the forest or by sea.
The late arrival of the highway also helps explain why approximately 80% of the Paraty municipality is protected. There is a National Park, an Eco-reserve and 03 environmental protection areas.
Add to this the imposing Rainforest covered Coastal Mountain Range and the huge biodiversity as recognised by UNESCO and it comes as no surprise to hear that Paraty is home to some world class hiking.
In hiking terms, there is something for everyone: from easygoing walks that will immerse you in local history, culture and nature to challenging multiday treks through remote Rainforest.
On tours and multiday trips with Paraty Explorer, we choose the best hiking in Paraty, always thinking about the natural and cultural richness that the region has to offer.
Before European colonisation a network of ancient trails gave local indigenous communities access to the sea and linked them to other peoples across the entire South American continent.
The Coastal Mountain range in Paraty means that the trails are almost always going up and downhill. There’s very little walking on the flat! These constantly changing conditions are one of the reasons there is such huge biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest around Paraty. The flora and fauna found in the mountains are different to those found at sea level.
Paraty has trails for everyone; from beginners wanting to get their first taste of hiking in the forest, to experienced hikers looking for some challenging coastal trekking.
The Gold Trail
Walking on the Gold Trail is to step back in time into Brazil’s rich colonial history. This was the paved road built by enslaved Africans based on pre-colonial indigenous trails initially used to transport gold out of the Brazilian interior and onto ships bound for Portugal. At its longest this major feat of engineering was over 1200 km linking the city of Diamantina to the coast and sustaining the Brazilian Gold Rush of the 18th Century.
There is a picturesque 4km stretch of the Gold Trail in the forest behind Paraty that has been carefully preserved and can be visited with local Tour Guides. A great way to spend a morning!
Melancia Falls Trail
A 02 hour trail through primary and secondary Atlantic Forest will get you to the spectacular Melancia Falls. These are the tallest Falls in Paraty and are only accessible by walking trail. The Melancia Falls also form a natural waterpark of pools you can swim in and smaller falls to play in.
This is a challenging 4 hour hike on a remote unsignposted trail crossing rivers and streams in dense jungle so we strongly recommend you go with a local Tour Guide.
Recommended tour: Melancia Falls Hike
Costa Verde Beach Trails
On the Juatinga Peninsular the thin white sandy beaches sit between the hillsides covered in unspoilt Rainforest and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. With arguably the best beaches in Brazil linked via trails through the Atlantic Forest, Paraty’s Costa Verde has excellent coastal hiking.
With so many amazing beaches to choose from it’s difficult to recommend a favourite. Why not check them out for yourself? Sono, Antigos, Antiguinhos and Ponta Negra beaches are all winners! The 02 day Saco Bravo Waterfall hike includes them all.
Recommended tour: Saco Bravo Waterfall Hike (2 days)
Mamanguá Sugarloaf Peak Trail
The amazing panoramic views are a great reward after the sweaty hike up the 425m Mamanguá Sugarloaf peak (29m higher than its more famous cousin in Rio!). The first thing to notice on trails in Paraty is that the locals are clearly not interested in saving their knees or lungs by zigzagging up switchbacks. They want to walk the shortest possible distance and approach hiking with a ‘bring it on!’ attitude. This Mamanguá trail is probably the best example: at 1.6km it’s a short but very intensive hike – not for the faint hearted, or those with bad knees!
As a day trip the hike is best done by fastboat from Paraty. However, if you really want to get a feel for this amazing area we recommend you spend a night or two in Mamangua. The sense of peace and tranquillity surrounding by outstanding natural beauty in the early mornings and late afternoons after the day-trippers have gone is unforgettable!
Saco Bravo Waterfall trail
One of the most remote trails in Paraty takes you to the Saco Bravo Waterfall located in the eco-reserve on the Juatinga Peninsular.
This is fast becoming one of the must-hike attractions of Paraty so we recommend you spend the night before in a nearby fishing village. With an early start you can be swimming at the Saco Bravo Waterfall before the day-hikers get there!
A 02 day trip also means you get to hike the Costa Verde Beach trails (see above).
Recommended tour: Saco Bravo Waterfall Hike (02 days)
Water Trails in Paraty
When we talk about trails in Paraty we’re not just limited to Hiking Trails.
Without doubt everyone who has ever lived in the region now known as Paraty has depended on the Water Trails. Before the Portuguese colonisers arrived the local indigenous people were criss-crossing the coastline in their dugout canoes.
In more recent centuries the water trails have maintained the links between the remote Cairçara fishing communities with the main town and beyond.
Nowadays the stunning Costa Verde in Paraty is considered the top sea kayaking destination in Brazil.