There’s lots to do in the beautiful colonial town of Paraty, the jewel in the crown of the Costa Verde region of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but an unmissable activity is taking a boat ride around the gorgeous Paraty Bay, with its idyllic, secluded beaches and paradisiacal islands.
Trips are easy to organise. Simply walk down to the docks in the morning (aim to arrive between 10-11am) and you will see dozens of boats offering different routes and packages. A typical trip will take around five hours and costs anywhere between R$50-100 per hour. If you’re in a group of three or more, rent your own boat. If on your own or as a couple, look out for other small groups of tourists and join in with their trip.
There is no shortage of options of beautiful beaches and islands to visit, and your guide will no doubt give his own recommendations, but here are some of the regions most beautiful spots.
Saco do Mamanguá
Located around an hour’s boat ride southeast of Paraty, Saco de Mamanguá is a great place to start your trip, before circling back to some of the beaches closer to Paraty.
Saco do Mamanguá is actually a group of beaches, hidden away and surrounded by mountains and Atlantic forest. Its waters are crystal clear and are often full of turtles and tropical fish, a perfect spot for snorkeling.
Praia da Lula
Possibly the most popular of Paraty’s beaches, Praia da Lula is a mainstay on almost all boat trips around the bay. Completely secluded and with gorgeous white sand, the views are incredible and you might just be tempted to stay there and let the driver of your boat head off home.
The only thing which might make you want to move on from Praia da Lula is the fact that there is nowhere to eat there. Never fear, as you can hop down the coast to Praia Vermelha, which is almost as beautiful and has a couple of restaurants and kiosks to wet your whistle and whet your appetite.
Praia do Jurumirim
Another secluded spot full of aquatic life and beautiful views, Jurumirim is an enclosed sandy beach surrounded by jungle and large boulders. A good place to spend half an hour sitting in the sun, there are two private homes on the beach with two friendly golden retrievers who love to greet all Jurumirim’s visitors.
Praia do Engenho
One of the largest beaches in the region, with the most facilities for tourists (drinks kiosks, food stands and a good sit-down restaurant), Praia do Engenho is a nice spot to stop for lunch in the middle of your trip. The beach used to be home to a famous distillery of cachaça (Brazil’s national spirit, made from sugar cane juice), and while its ruined remains still stand, it is inadvisable to visit them due to the presence of snakes.
Ilha do Pelado
Off to the north of Paraty on the border between the colonial town and Angra dos Reis, heading to Ilha do Pelado means you’re unlikely to have time to visit any of the other beaches on this list, but it’s definitely worth it – plus, it gives you an excuse to stay an extra day!
This secluded island has a gorgeous beach and one of the most famous food and drink spots in the region, Bar da Bete.
Though also accessible by car, the indigenous village of Paraty Mirim is a popular stop for boat trips around Paraty. Beyond the small town’s lovely beach, there are also fascinating ruins of the old slave docks, as well as a tiny and beautiful church. Be sure to buy something from the local vendors, as it helps to conserve this idyllic indigenous village.