The Best Hike of my Life: Paraty and Surrounding Beaches

Perusing through my blog today, I realized that I never wrote a post about my trip to Paraty last year.  One of my best and oldest friends from home, Mareill, came to visit me last year in Rio to help me celebrate my 27th birthday.  It was her brilliant idea to take a little trip somewhere – Why not? Brazilian has so much  incredible natural beauty and there is an endless amount of outdoor activities to partake in – what about a hike? She organized everything and as a birthday gift, sweetly treated me to a trip to the little town of Paraty, where we  then headed to nearby beaches for a three-day hike in the wilderness…

We were going to travel with our very own personal guide – it was obviously not safe to do this type of thing alone – for many reasons! My boyfriend at the time (who grew up in Rio and therefore was used to having his guard up when it came to safety) was worried about two blonde American girls traveling alone with a guide in the middle of nowhere.  But of course, it all turned out okay! Mareill had done her research, so we were in good hands.

On the day that we left, we woke up before the crack of dawn – at 3AM – to meet our guide at the bus station.  From there, we took a five hour bus ride to Paraty, a gorgeous little coastal colonial town.

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More on that to come…

We then took probably the cutest boat I have ever seen to maybe THE most beautiful beach I have ever seen.  I keep wanting to say island, but we were not actually hiking on an island – it was all part of a peninsula – with a boat being, I believe, the fastest method of transportation to our destination.

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You see, Paraty runs along the coastline (Costa Verde) of the state of Rio and is surrounded by numerous untouched beaches, mountains and lush forests.

Throughout the boat ride, we saw little islands…

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Island restaurant on the way to our destination

When we finally got there, the beauty was breathtaking.

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Not even photoshopped, believe it or not.  I felt like I was in heaven.

We then explored the beaches a bit, finding that, while, for the most part, they were not entirely secluded (there were actually people living on and near the beaches), they were completely cut off from the rest of the world (or at least felt like it).

I had never seen anything like it.  Here, there was no supermarket.  No shops to buy clothes.  People lived so simply, with only basic essentials – without the material things that our society seems to rely on so much.  This was such a nice escape from city life.  A breath of fresh air.  It felt good to just shut off my cell phone for a few days and immerse myself entirely in my surroundings.

After the first day of hiking, we were exhausted.  We camped out at a campsite and had a homemade dinner served to us by a native of the area. We went to bed as soon as (if not before) the sun set at 7pm and woke up to roosters howling in the early morning.

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Our campsite the first night

The next day, we saw even more beautiful scenery.  Like this…

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That night, we arrived at what was a pretty bustling little village (comparatively) – it was adorable.  Some houses set along hilly dirt paths and even the cutest little church!

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Bar/restaurant on one of the beaches

And this was where we spent the night! The most adorable little one room house.  Literally just had a bedroom and a bathroom.

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The little house where we spent a night

That night, we ate dinner at someone’s house who lived in the village. She cooked us a homemade meal in her house, which looked like it was made out of bamboo wood.

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The church in the village that we stayed in

The next day, we woke up early again for a third (and final) day of hiking.  As much as I loved the trip and all the exercise, I was getting exhausted – so I think three days was the perfect amount!

The third day led to even MORE beautiful, pristine beaches…

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After a lot of hiking, finally, we reached the best view of all

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We hiked down to the bottom and arrived at another little village (perhaps the biggest one of all) – this one even had a little restaurant/bar!

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One of the beach bars/restaurants at the last beach we trekked through

I was in heaven.

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Loved the carefully crafted, hand-made chairs and tables

 

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There were so many cute little houses throughout the village.  Like this one, for instance…

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A creative little garden!

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Bathroom/outdoor sinks

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Can you see why I fell in love with this place?

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After a little R & R, we were off again to continue the last leg of the hike. Here, we encountered some other hikers and travelers – we had barely ran into any the first two days, but this area, being closer to the main town, had some.

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One final view before leaving
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The last leg of the hike…I was about ready to collapse!

We were all so exhausted from hiking at this point – so while I was really sad to leave paradise, I was a bit relieved to be done with hiking.

So it was goodbye paradise and hello Paraty! Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, we caught a bus to Paraty, the colonial town that we had departed from.  Mareill and I explored this charming town a little bit before heading back to Rio. The historic center of the town is all cobblestone streets, with no cars allowed.  Horses and carts are frequently cited throughout the town.  You feel as if you are back in time a few centuries.  The architecture is composed of all whitewashed buildings and red roofed buildings.  All set on the water with a backdrop of mountains…it is stunning.

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Paraty

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Paraty becomes almost prettier at night, when it is all lit up and the whitewashed buildings sort of glow.

At nightfall, we caught the bus back to Rio. It was a hard place to leave, but it’s a little hard to complain when your home looks like this…

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Taken during a hike up Morro Dois Irmoes in Rio
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