Sono Beach, Paraty – all you need to know before you go
Overlooked for many years Sono Beach has become a must-visit beach day out on any trip to Paraty. Sono beach is located on the open sea side of the Juatinga Peninsular, the other side from Paraty and Mamangua. A fishing village of almost 380 people, Sono is only accessible by sea or walking trail. Tourism has grown slowly but steadily over the years, without changing the character of the village where fishing still plays a very important part of daily life.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten track and have an active day out mixing hiking and beach time then Sono Beach is the place for you.
Paraty has plenty to offer visitors (Check out our tips for The Best Things To Do) and a day out on Sono beach is one of our favourites. But if you really want to make the most of what this corner of Paraty has to offer then why not do it justice on a 02 day trip? In addition to Sono Beach on the 02 day Saco Bravo Waterfall hike we also explore the other highlights – Antigos Beach, Ponta Negra Fishing Village and of course the amazing natural infinity pool at Saco Bravo Waterfall. Check out more info and photos here Saco Bravo Waterfall Hike (2 days).
In any case, if you do decide on a day out to Sono Beach then these are Paraty Explorer’s TOP tips:
1 – Sono Beach: plan for the day!
We’ve been visiting Sono beach for almost 20 years, refining the elements to make it a great day out. Naturally there is no right or wrong way to do it but this is the combination that works best for us.
09:40 – Catch the Colitur bus in Paraty to Vila Oratorio (Laranjeiras). Double check the bus timetable as times change, but its almost always a 40 minute journey
10:15 – Get off at the last bus stop for the trailhead. The trail starts behind the bus shelter, uphill, and these days the start is signposted! Hike to Sono Beach (about 1 hour)
11:00 – It’s tempting to stop for a swim on arrival at Sono beach but keep going! Another 45 minutes and you’ll be on Antigos Beach, one of the best in the whole region (see Beaches in Paraty)
13:00 – Head back to Sono Beach for lunch – freshly caught seafood, rice, beans and salad. Order lunch and get back in the sea!
16:00 – Taxi boat to Laranjeiras to catch the bus back to Paraty. A chance to admire your earlier hiking route throught the forest from the sea.
2 – Paraty to Sono Beach: getting there
There is no road access to Sono so you need to go by walking trail or taxi boat. The main access point is Laranjeiras (aka Vila Oratorio on the map above); you won’t get a boat direct from Paraty. Local buses (Colitur) run regularly throughout the day (as many as 9 per day) departing Paraty Bus station. Look for buses to Vila Oratorio (Laranjeiras). Cost R$5 one-way (at the time of writing)
Uber or Taxis can take you there by road which takes about 30-40 minutes.
Or if you want a guided tour the guide can arrange transport (car or minibus)
3 – Do I need a Tour Guide?
For maximum enjoyment we recommend going with a registered (!) guide. The guide will take care of all the logistics – bus times or private transport, hiking route, lunch arrangements, taxi boats, safety and translation etc – so that everything runs smoothly and you get to concentrate on enjoying the hiking and the beach time.
However, this is a straightforward day out so if you fancy striking out on your own then don’t be intimidated!
4 – Antigos Beach is better?
Antigos is a classic Costa Verde beach with the lush Atlantic Forest covering the hillside right down to the golden sandy beach. This natural beauty is all the more apparent when you realise that there are no manmade structures on the beach – no houses, no shops, no beach kiosks. It’s all natural. If you go as far as Sono Beach then you must go that little bit further to visit Antigos. You won’t be disappointed!
5 – Open sea: Be Careful!
Riptides, surf and currents: Sono is on the open sea side of the Juatinga Peninsular. Be very careful, especially if you are not a confident swimmer or have young kids with you. The waves tend to be biggest and the current strongest at the start of the beach (right hand side as you look out to sea). It tends to be calmer in the middle of the beach. In any case it’s always a good idea to study the sea before you go in.
6 – Deco! Our man in Sono!
Sono is without doubt an area of outstanding natural beauty. Yet it is the warm hospitality of the local Caiçara people that makes it a truly special place. Over the years Paraty Explorer has made many friends in Sono and one of the first was Deco (not his real name, but it took us 4 years to discover it’s a nickname!). Son of Sono, like many a former fisherman, Deco’s our main man in the village. With his wife Eliane he runs the beach kiosk where we like to have lunch, Por do Sol (just over halfway along the beach). They also rent rooms and a great beachfront house if you fancy staying longer. And as if that wasn’t enough Deco and his son, Guilherme, run a taxi boat service to Laranjeiras where you catch the bus back to Paraty.
7 – How the other half lives
Except in Brazil. When we’re talking about the wealthier people in Brazil we’re talking about 1% of the population not 50%. According to research, the richest 1% in Brazil capture almost 30% of the country’s total income.
When you leave Sono we recommend you take the taxi boat back to the start of the trail which involves being escorted through the Laranjeiras gated community for the super-rich. The contrast between the simple life in the fishing villages and the luxurious mansions behind fences protected by armed security guards requires no comment but it is an unforgettable lesson for the meaning of the term economic inequality. For many visitors, the most memorable part of a day out at Sono Beach.