A beautiful, quirky town halfway between Rio and São Paulo, with a backdrop of jungled mountains and miles of secluded beaches – Paraty really is a colonial jewel – and seeing as it was founded during the Brazilian Gold Rush, this title is particularly fitting. No cars pass through its cobbled streets, making them great for wanderers, but also quite treacherous – paved crazily with chunky stones called pés-de-moleque (street children‘s feet), you have to watch your step. The bleached buildings all have vibrantly coloured door and window frames and during high tide, like a Brazilian Venice, many of the streets close to the port are flooded by the sea, creating beautiful reflections.
A boat trip was the perfect way to see something of the 200 beaches and 65 islands nearby, and with a tropical coastline bordered by palm trees and a green sea, you could be in the Caribbean. The highlight was undoubtedly a stop at Restaurante de Dadico, only accessible by boat, and owned by a fisherman who catches the fish fresh and makes the furniture by hand.