West of Rio de Janeiro, the BR-101 highway divides forested mountains from steep coastal cliffs. This is the Costa Verde—the Green Coast—admired for its tranquil bays, isolated beaches and lush islands such as Ilha Grande. Offshore, the turquoise waters support a variety of colorful fish, Magellanic penguins and Southern right whales.
As the coast curves to the southwest around the Baía da Ilha Grande, it arrives in the colorful town of Paraty (or Parati). Settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Paraty became the primary port for shipments of Minas Gerias gold. The town's colonial prominence is evident in its fort, baroque churches, and sunken cobblestone streets (ingeniously designed to be cleaned by the tides). Paraty's other charms include quiet plazas, a remarkable puppet theater and more than a dozen nearby beaches.
Most visitors come to Paraty for three of more nights. The town has a fine collection of boutique hotels. Luxurious private villas are also available. Visitors can enjoy diving, snorkeling, sailing, surfing, horseback riding, hiking and visits to a local cachaça distillery. Day trips to Ilha Grande can also be arranged.
Due north of Paraty, the Mata Atlantica is broken by rocky ridges and grasslands. This is the location of Itatiaia, Brazil's first national park. Visitors can explore forested trails to waterfalls, climb the rugged cliffs, and observe more than 250 bird species. Guided day-trips from Paraty or Rio are available.
The nearest international airport to Paraty is in Rio de Janeiro (GIG) 146 miles to the northeast. However, the local airfield is suitable for light aircraft and small jets. Helicopter charters are also available, with helipads accommodating aircraft up to 5 tons.
Private land transfers can be arranged from either Rio (3.5 hours) or Sao Paulo (about 5.5 hours). Both roads generally in good condition, and picnic lunches can be arranged for these journeys.
Paraty is a year round destination; high temperatures average 80°F to 84°F from October to May, cooling off to the high-70's during the June to September winter. Precipitation is greatest from October to April (6.6 to 9.5 inches per month) and lowest from June to August (around three inches).
Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Brazil and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
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