Beautiful Paraty is a charming town on Brazil’s Costa Verde between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. A network of colonial buildings and cobbled streets sandwiched between the ocean and the rainforest, it captivates all who visit, creating a never-ending desire to return. The pretty white buildings are all terracotta tiled with brightly coloured gables and window frames. The theme is carried in to the boats in the harbour, all gaily decorated in bright colours. The sun perfectly complements this palette and the surrounding scenery in the bay, dotted with islands and a rich forest behind creates a genuine paradise on earth.
These surroundings provide a range of fun activities during a stay in Paraty. From stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling and kayaking to treks in the rainforest, up stunning peaks and to local waterfalls, there is something for everyone. A popular trip and one that should be at the top of every visitor’s list is the schooner trip to local islands. You can hire a private boat with a driver to take you out or join the larger schooner tour which is still delightful. The five hour trip departs from the harbour and makes four different stops at beaches and islands. At each stop there is the option to swim ashore or make the short journey in a motorised dinghy from the ship. Highlights are definitely swimming and snorkelling surrounded by fishes and the stunning views; pure bliss.
There are several hotels in and around Paraty and here we talk about our three favourites.
Casa Turquesa is without doubt the best hotel in Paraty. It opened the market for boutique luxury and continues to lead with unique and impeccable style. Attention to detail and perfect design are at the heart of this very special hotel. On arrival, each guest is given a pair of Casa Turquesa Havaianas to wear inside the hotel (there is a lot of sand in Paraty) which are left in your own basket at reception.
Each of the eight rooms is decorated similarly, with individual touches. They are classified by colour, the theme of white running throughout with the accents identifying each room. Windows open wide onto the streets below with views over the pretty rooftops. Polished wooden floors, crisp Trussardi linen specially designed for the hotel and dreamy mosquito nets combine to create a luxurious feel. No detail is forgotten from the hats and umbrellas in each room, full amenities and personalised woven bags and towels for your trips to the beach.
The pool is situated in the centre of the hotel, surrounded by greenery and complete with loungers for relaxing in the sun. The library stocks a range of books including some fabulous art books and is the perfect place to relax with a cup of tea in the late afternoon. Afternoon Tea is served each day between 4 and 6 when guests can help themselves to tea, coffee, fresh juice and homemade cake. Breakfast is a delicious and filling affair, starting with homemade granola and yoghurt and a daily changing array of fresh fruits, it continues to homemade breads and pastries, homemade jam, cheese and charcuterie. Each days sees a different cake from individual apple crumbles to delicately fragrant lemon sponges. Guests can also choose from a menu of hot food including a variety of eggs and an indulgently comforting ham and cheese grilled sandwich. Each place setting is perfect with coordinated crockery and personalised napkins.
Casa Turquesa is a perfect slice of luxury in a delightful location.
Pousada Literaria is a charming boutique hotel in the centre of Paraty. The 23 rooms are decorated in a crisp clean style with bright wooden floors and warm, colourful accents. The pousada, like most hotels in Paraty, is housed in an old colonial mansion and the buildings run around a large garden and pool area in the centre which is perfect for swimming or relaxing with a book.
Books and literature are central to this hotel and it is the official host of the world famous FLIP literary festival that takes place in Paraty each year. The library boasts over 1,500 books and is a delightful place to relax. The pousada has its own bookshop, Livraria de Mare a few doors down. Guests can also enjoy the spa which offers an indulgent range of massages and treatments.
Breakfast is served by the pool each morning or guests can opt to enjoy it on their balcony or in their spacious rooms. Gastronomy is another important element of this hotel and the Quintal de Letras restaurant is open each day serving lunch and dinner. With a contemporary twist on local Paraty flavours and ingredients, this is one of the best restaurants in town.
Pousada Literaria is a delightful hotel with much to recommend it.
40 minutes’ drive from Paraty, along the coast, is a corner of complete paradise known as Picinguaba. A small fishing town, perched looking out to sea, it houses Pousada Picinguaba, one of the best hotels on this stretch of coastline.
The 10 rooms offer elegant simplicity and in keeping with the beach surroundings are decorated in pure white with blue and turquoise accents. Some offer spectacular views and balconies complete with hammock. The pool is spectacular and with an unrivalled view ofver the bay and to the beach beyond. The hotel is decorated with unique pieces of art and excellent photography of local people and culture.
The restaurant serves delicious, freshly prepared cuisine; a carefully selected menu designed to perfectly complement the warm weather and surroundings. Many of the ingredients come from Picinguaba’s sister hotel, Fazenda Catuçaba, an organic farm located further inland.
Many activities are on offer including trips out in the hotel’s own boat, snorkelling, kayaking and local walks. What better way to spend a day than taking a boat over to a deserted beach with a picnic and a bottle of Champagne.
If there is heaven on earth, Pousada Picinguaba is deserving of such an accolade.
Simon Williams is Director of The Bespoke Travel Group.