São Paulo to Paraty – Getting there
How to get from São Paulo to Paraty
Complete guide to getting to Paraty
Located midway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo Paraty is easily accessible by road. There is an airport, but there are no commercial regular flights. If you feel like splashing out you can pay for a helicopter (Calvin Klein did!) but if you’re not in CK’s league you’re coming by road.
In Brazil terms this is a short journey, about 5 -7 hours from São Paulo, depending on mode of transport, traffic, toilet stops, roadworks etc. It’s also worth noting that you the route passes Guarulhos International airport, São Paulo’s main airport.
Bear in mind that during high season and national holidays the roads can be very busy and you should book in advance for car rentals, buses and airport/ city transfers. Make sure you get to the end of the post where you will find lots of tips on the Best Things To Do in Paraty, the fun bit after you’ve made the journey!
Rent a Car
Significantly quicker than the bus! About 4 ½ hours compared to the 6 ½ hour bus journey (2 half hour stops don’t help). These days, with navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps driving to Paraty is much easier, even though the roadsigns aren’t always clear.
The other great advantage is the independence a car gives you in Paraty. You won’t need to stay within walking distance of the old town so this opens up a whole range of accommodation, from cheap and cheerful to luxury and everything in between. You can also visit the local beaches (journeys of up to 30km one way) and waterfalls and freshwater pools (journeys of up to 10km one-way).
There are two routes once you have left São Paulo and are on the Dutra Highway. Either you can come over the coastal mountain range by turning off at Taubate and heading to Ubatuba, the town on the coast before Paraty. Or you can go via Cunha and take the scenic route down the mountain range. In terms of journey time the Cunha route is considered a little quicker. Either way, take it easy on the steep and twisty mountain roads!
A quick search on Google and you’ll find all the major international car rental companies in Rio: Hertz, Localiza, etc
São Paulo to Paraty by Bus!
Comfortable, spacious and safe there are regular buses from São Paulo to Paraty. According to the site the journey is 6 hours 20 minutes, but be prepared for delays. Still, it is unlikely that you will take as long as Journey Duration World Record holder, D Phillips, who took 22 hours after severe flooding and landslides on the route (Jan 2010)
Buses from São Paulo to Paraty depart from Tiete Bus station (on the São Paulo Metro)
Bus company Reunidas Paulista https://www.reunidaspaulista.com.br/
Currently (August 2021) there is a limited service with 4 buses per day, 08:00, 11:00, 14:00 22:00 but in pre-pandemic times there were as many as 7 buses per day so worth checking.
From Paraty to São Paulo, there is currently a limited service (August 2021) with 3 buses per day 09:40, 13:40, 23:15 but there used to be 5
(which bizarrely meant that in pre-pandemic times there was a net increase of 2 Reunidas buses per day in Paraty. I wonder how that worked out)
Journey duration: approx. 6 – 7 hours (according to the site)
It’s possible to book private transfers by minibus or by car for maximum comfort and convenience. Uber is offering competitive rates if you don’t fancy a Taxi or private car service. Or you can buy through local Paraty tourism agencies. Journey time from São Paulo to Paraty by private transfer about 5 hours.
Regular door-to-door Minibus Transfers
The regular minibus service offered by Paraty Tours drops you off at your accommodation in Paraty. There are 02 regular transfers per day leaving from downtown São Paulo and stopping at Guarulhos International airport on the way to Paraty.
Book yourself on a ride-sharing app and meet the locals! This is a relatively new option in Brazil. BlaBlaCar is proving to be one of the fastest growing apps so you are more likely to find rides available.
Things to do in Paraty
Before you book your onward travel check out all that Paraty has to offer. Don’t miss out, this is the fun bit after all! Although a popular weekend destination for Brazilians it’s difficult to do Paraty justice in just a couple of days. There are over 50 islands and more than 100 beaches to explore in addition to the hiking trails, waterfalls and freshwater pools in the Atlantic Forest. Check out this blog post on The Best Things to do in Paraty and get planning!
Outside the major holidays you can probably get away without booking in advance but it’s always a good idea to book early to avoid disappointment. For tours there are only so many English-speaking guides in Paraty. And once you find that special boat for a day trip the chances are that other people are also looking at it!