Sipping Agua de Coco and kicking cobblestones in Paraty, Brazil |
Adrian Seah

A hop, skip and jump (ok, 4 hour bus ride) from the world famous Rio de Janeiro along the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil lies the little UNESCO heritage town of Paraty, sometimes spelt Parati, but always pronounced Para-Chee. A little piece of Portugal in tropical Brazil, Paraty was a blast from the past, chock full of old colonial architecture, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages and old men peddling sweets in carts. A port town, Paraty is decidedly working class, and the simple, almost rough hewn architecture reflects that fact. In the 1800s when gold was still flowing from the mines up in Minas Gerais, Paraty was the port the Portuguese used to ferry the loot out of the country and to imperial coffers in Lisbon. When that gold dried up, Paraty fell in importance and faded into the annals of history, a mass exodus left the town almost empty, but it also meant that the buildings remained preserved in time without too much degradation all these years.

A relatively small town, Paraty can be covered by foot, and we spent few days there wandering about the cobbled lanes an amidst the beautiful buildings with their trademark windows. Late afternoons were spent sipping Agua de Coco on the beach, with Samba blaring from tinny speakers hung up in the trees on the sand. After our crazy time in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it seemed a rather stark contrast that nobody seemed to be in any kind of hurry in Paraty.

And it suited us just fine.
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