We took a bus to little town Paraty which is 250km southwest from Rio. The bus was nice and clean. However it was very cold in there. Even though it was 30 C outside they made it freakin’ freezing 15 C inside and we had to wear warm clothes to avoid freezing to death, because the bus driver under no circumstances would reduce the cooling! And it wasn’t that only bus – every city buses, taxis and even cafes that we tried, do that. So be aware and prepare yourself if you plan to travel in Brazil.
It took 4.5 hours and 77 reals to get to Paraty. We had our hostel “Aloha” booked via booking.com and only when we have arrived we noticed that it is just 50m away from the airport of the town. This is not a big airport, but we could do plane-spotting every day. There were small planes or helicopters landing or taking-off few times per hour.
On the other hand the hostel itself was nice and clean. They had different rooms with dormitory beds and standard double beds. We opted for a private room with double bed as we had many things like laptop, cameras and tablets which we wanted to keep safe. There was one drawback of the rooms in this hostel, they had no glass windows, just simple wooden shutters to keep sun away. So when the night came so did the mosquitoes! I have no problems with them, but Asta is a bit allergic to their bites, so if she gets bitten it itches for the next few days. Luckily we had a solution for that. We used our “Lifeventure” sleeping bag liner which is EX3 treated with a triple layer of protection which prevents bacteria, mosquitoes and bed bugs. So we put it to the full test and it worked pretty well – no mosquitoes would bite during the night.
Now it was just the noise and smell from the street which we had to cope with :) For those unaware - Paraty floods quite regularly, and intentionally — it’s an old street-cleaning strategy. Indeed, it dates back centuries, to when the city was designed: since it is below sea level, sidewalks are elevated about a foot above the cobblestones, and during full-moons at high tides, ocean water fills the streets. Once the water is gone wet ground starts to smell, because it doesn’t get completely dry even in the hot Brazilian sun.
One day water came up really high and even locals were saying that this is not normal. People were using boats to get where they needed to be and the town reminded of Venice in Italy.
Next couple of days we spent exploring historical part of the town, trying local specialties - fish stew with bananas, and sunbathing in local beaches.
Xavier – guy working in the hostel reception advised us to go hiking to Punta Negro from nearby town of Laranjeiras which is 20km away from Paraty. There is a bus going from central bus station to this town and it cost only 3.4reals (~ 1euro). We packed our cameras, took some snacks and left for all day expecting to see some jungle and mountains, but what we have seen has exceeded our expectations. Day was cool and it was even raining at times so we took warmer clothes, in order not to get cold, but we took them off after we climbed to the first hill on our trail to the beach called Praia do Sono. Trail was really nice and went through the jungle slowly climbing up the hills and descending to small rivers which were flowing in the valleys.
Praia do Sono beach is a surfer’s paradise. Huge Atlantic waves are washing the sandy cost and big trees along the cost provides shade once you’re tired and want to drink your mate – traditional Brazilian tea which locals are drinking non-stop.
We were only half way in to our hike so we continued along the beach and had a small river to cross, before we climbed up the mountain to get nice view of all the beach.
Trail was crossing one beach after another and as high tide was coming it got harder and harder for us to walk along the shore without getting our feet wet. Sometimes we even had to outrace the waves or climb higher on the rocks.
There was a small waterfall in the jungle and suspension bridge over the river.
We finished the trail in 6 hours after hiking 14km and came back happy and full of impressions. If you are around this area we definitely recommend doing this trail.
We made a short video to give you a better view of that place.
After staying for four nights in Aloha hostel we decided it was time for a change and checked-in to Breda Hostel - one we found in the historical old-town about a kilometer away. It has really nice garden, friendly staff and good continental breakfast with pancakes. We are going to spend here at least 4 more nights. So stay tuned for more pictures and stories from Paraty.