A long 2 day drive to Paraty, originally planned to be a bush camp en-route but turned into a bonus hotel stop as we arrived late in a small town. It turned into a fun evening, as unplanned events often do, as we went in search of some food and made a local bar owners day by cleaning him out of the small grilled skewers he was selling outside his bar. A couple of beers and some good banter made for a fun couple of hours.
Less fun was me falling in the (slippery) shower, a week on I am still feeling the bruised ribs/elbow, and coupled with the dodgy knee, hip and plantar fasciitis I am in fine fettle! No one thing serious, just a collection of niggles from getting older.
The drive into Paraty is a challenging twisty road over the mountains, a route buses aren’t allowed, we were pulled over by what I think were community police and advised to turn back but Pete explained it was a purpose built overland truck and we proceed to enjoy the spectacular turns and views of the tropical forest.
Paraty is a lovely old colonial town and harbour, originally founded as a natural harbour and access to the inland via the natural mountain passes. Today it is very much a holiday destination for Brazilians as much as anyone else. Much of the colonial area is beautifully preserved and converted to shops and restaurants with cobbled streets- very hard to walk on in flip flops.
We arrived fairly late and set up camp in a small site that already had a large group who partied till gone 3am and were up again at 6. International relations were a little strained ! In daylight the campsite wasn’t the best and with rain also forecast Karen and I plus a few others independently decided to upgrade to one of the local hotels. We had to go in 4 or 5 before we found a vacancy but turned out to be a wise move.
We walked into town at 7am to see Paraty before it got busy and thoroughly enjoyed our walk and shopping, Karen buying a new swimsuit, snorkel and Havaianas. Havaianas being the “cult” fashion item here. We moved our bags into the hotel and got the tent ready to pack up for when the Truck retuned. I wandered down at 5.30 pm to let them know where we were and found revolution underway as there had been a group decision to move campsites and as not everyone was there and some tents were locked they were being moved lock stock and barrel into the truck for transport. It was all but loaded when I arrived and we arranged to meet later in town when they had setup again.
We met up for drinks in the lively square where fruit juice with your choice of alcohol was freely available and then split up into groups to go eat depending on your choice of cuisine, some went for Thai, we went for a local restaurant and had a delicious crab stew which is a local speciality. Whilst we were eating a local carnival group went by practising for the big event now just weeks ago Excellent costumes and a lively atmosphere. Walking home we passed them again packing up and got some photos of the costumes. A great night.
The big thing to do in Paraty is to take a schooner and go snorkelling swimming off some of the islands in the bay. We went out on Turbo 2 us and about 40 locals. Boat motors out to a spot and then you just jump overboard – great fun. A nice lunch was served – amazing considering the tiny kitchen , chef well pleased when Karen complimented his efforts.
Also on board was some live music from a singer guitarist with a percussionist accompaniment. After lunch it started to rain, well actually it poured but it made no difference, it was warm and we were swimming anyway. The guitar played a couple of Beatles songs – a particularly good rendition of “Love me Do” and the odd Bob Marley track along with the local songs which the rest of the crowd seemed to appreciate. We had a fine time singing in the rain.
The locals extremely friendly and a bunch on the boat gave me and Karen drinks – lethal cocktails of vodka and local “red bull” and an equally lethal but delicious apple juice and rum concoction, things went slightly downhill when football was discussed but it was all in good spirit.
We got soaked walking back to the Hotel and after a change of clothes we were due to meet the rest of the group at their new campsite for a barbeque meal but it was a 10 minute walk and it was still tipping down so Karen and I just went the 50 yards across the road to a beach cafe / restaurant and had a cosy evening together with food and cocktails.
Watching the rain fall on the beach, listening to the waves, warm with a drink was a whole lot more appealing than being in it! We did feel slightly guilty about those in tents but the upgrade for those particular nights was one of our better decisions. A truly fabulous day.
I went along to the campsite next morning to help pack up and fulfil my role on the tent group packing up – it was still raining – we picked Karen, bags and other upgrader’s on the way out of town. We really enjoyed Pararty and could have easily stayed a couple of more days but next stop Rio.
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