Paraty Old Town Centre
Paraty, Brazil´s colonial jewel located on the Costa Verde, south of Rio de Janeiro, offers visitors a unique combination of history, culture and nature. Wandering the streets of the Paraty Old Town Centre, with the greatest concentration of colonial architecture in Brazil, is like walking into a huge open-air museum from the 19th Century. The effect is overwhelming and the charming town of Paraty is a must on any visit to Brazil.
People have been living in Paraty since before the Portuguese arrived in 1500. Migrating indians would spend the cooler winters on the coast near what is now Paraty´s historical old town. Fish and shellfish was always abundant in the bay when hunting may have been scarce higher up in the cooler coastal mountain range behind Paraty.
From these humble beginnings Paraty became one of the most important ports in Brazil in the 19th century, a strategic trading centre during the Brazilian Gold rush and the Coffee economic boom. The crash, when it came, was a big one!. By the early 1900s Paraty had become a ghost town, its inhabitants forced to leave the area in search of work; the beautiful colonial houses and stores left to crumble and decay.
The historic Paraty Old Town Centre is now a pedestrian zone with the streets flooding regularly with very high tides. Take a walking tour to find out more about this UNESCO World Heritage site for Culture and Biodiversity. The guide will tell you all about the history of Paraty, the colonial architecture as well as give you useful tips on where to eat and drink. Strolling through the Old Town by day or by night is always a pleasure….whether you’re doing some souvenir shopping, checking out the local art galleries, stopping for an ice-cream, a drink, or just soaking up the atmosphere.
These days in addition to the natural beauties of the bay and the coastal mountain range Paraty also offers visitors a rich and varied calendar of cultural events. Even thought it´s a small town there is always something happening – maybe you want to catch its fun street Carnaval or the international literary festival FLIP, hang out during the Jazz Festival, or try some of the finest craft rums in Brazil at the Cachaça festival. Whatever you´re into it´s always worth checking Paraty´s events calendar to see what´s on.