Our decision to go to Paraty for two days and one night was probably one of the best decisions we made this trip. After arriving in Rio de Janeiro and seeing what is going on, we concluded that spending four days in Rio is just too long! (Note: Rio will refer to Rio de Janeiro and RJ as Rio de Janeiro state).
The bus ride was great with Costa Verde (reclining seat that is wide enough, secure, and clean), though it was a little long (almost five hours). The price is affordable too.
Paraty historical centre is very quaint and pretty and tranquil. We chose one of the best hotels in Paraty – Pousada Pardieri. It is wonderful, quaint, and peaceful, just like the town itself. The owners are friendly. The staffs are great too! And it was way cheaper that our three-star hotel in Rio. The rooms are also beautifully decorated. My room is smaller and has a hammock inside. My friend’s room is larger, and it has a sofa. The building style of the Pousada and the buildings in the centre of Paraty is of colonial style – white walls and colorful windows that can be halfway opened for air circulation. The streets are still of cobblestones. It was a a little bit hard to walk in havaianas, but we made do.
The food is Paraty is delicious (mainly seafood and fish) and each order usually serves two people. Our first lunch of grilled fish, seafood, rice, and cassava at Galeria do Engenho could even feed three to four people and it set us back USD50. The pasta at Vitoriano Grill was delicious, too and set us back only USD23 for two. Breakfast at the Pousada was great, too. I finally had fresh fruits of papaya, mango, and honeydew melon. We also went out to Paraty 33 – best place for live music and dance. It was fun, although it was a little dead the night we went. We enjoyed the music a lot. It started with chill samba live music by a soloist, then it was followed by some dancing house music and live rock music. I suppose the music would depend on the program of the day.
The highlight of Paraty is of course a boat ride around the Paraty Bay and to visit the islands and their beaches. Our boat ride set us back USD120 for a private ride of three hours (we could not join the cheap group trip of USD15 per person due to timing). It was still affordable and it was quite fun! I was a little bit disappointed though. The water is NOT clear. It is green and murky. After going to Cancun for my last beach holiday, I find it a little disappointing. In general, I find people upsell us on the beach quality. Though we still enjoyed it, we both agree that our Brazil experience so far is “been there, done that, and there is no need to come back again”. The husband and wife team who owns the Alvorada boat-Amanda and Leandro were fun and good, laidback people. They just chill and talk to each other on the boat while we swam around. I cannot imagine such a sleepy life. I would go crazy! Haha! But I suppose, they earn better than most Brazilians and they get to do what they love to earn their living. So some would say they are few of the lucky ones.
While spending time in Paraty, I was starting to thaw against Brazil in general and I could imagine recommending Paraty to friends. I was just starting to think that there are hidden gems in Brazil after all (apart from cheap havaianas ans melissa shoes). The people in Paraty are super-duper wonderful and friendly. And we met a couple free-spirited souls, who came from oversea and fell in love with the place.
This good, loving feeling did not last long however. I was writing this blog as I sit on the wonderful Costa Verde bus on the way back to Rio de Janeiro. It was a smooth trip for 170km and bang! Dead stop when we had just 100km more to go. We sat in the stationary bus for about 1.5 hours. There was a bloody labor strike that blocked the road and the end was not in sight. It was another adventure, another taste of the local experience. It was damn frustrating and I wrote a pretty negative piece of Blog which I think should only be seen privately. I suppose a resilient traveler should have an open mind to face any roadblocks and change of plans. It comes with the territories! As a matter of fact, I saw a recent sign on a boat that took me to Tigre in Buenos Aires, which states: “ATTITUDE – A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDEAL AND AN ADVENTURE”. It cannot be further than the truth!!! Though, I could not help but wonder what would happen during the World Cup when people would demonstrate to raise Brazilian issues in the eyes of the World. I wish all my friends going to watch the World Cup live the best of luck, abundance of patience, and an empty bladder for all the drinking that is to come to drown all the frustrations. At least, Brazil will be one huge party animal.