Our next stop was the beautiful town of Paraty. Loved by Brazilians and tourists alike for its pretty colonial architecture, restaurants, shopping and coastal location, Paraty is a must see if you visit the Costa verde. The weather turned as we arrived, having had a week of none-stop wall to wall sunshine we were suddenly hit by a tropical thunderstorm and lots of rain. To be honest it suited us fine and allowed us time to shop, eat and drink without feeling guilty that we should be outside. It also gave us an excuse to spend as much time as possible in our dreamy boutique hotel – Casa Colonial Paraty.
Working in the travel industry means that I get very good discount on really nice hotels and this one was definitely one our highlights so far. Situated in an old colonial town house that was beautifully restored in rustic-style decor it had wooden flooring thorough-out, big comfy bed, complimentary mini bar and even a pair of Havianas each!
There are some amazing restaurants in Paraty, one of the most famous is banana de terra which serves traditional Brazilian food as well as delicious seafood. It’s on the pricier end of Brazilian cuisine but still totally within budget although I would recommend booking in peak season and weekends as it’s always got a queue.
Apart from shopping and eating, Paraty’s costal location makes it the perfect spot for boat trips around the many tiny islands scattered along its coastline. In fact you can’t miss the mass of colourful boats tied up along the harbour ready for a sunny day spent on the water. I’d recommend speaking to your hotel to organise for you or if you speak Portuguese just head down and barter yourself.
After Paraty we headed back to Island life for our fourth and final stop in Brazil. Ilhe Grande is just off the coast of Rio and the biggest island off the Costa verde coast (if the name wasn’t hint enough). A prison island until 1994 the island is still largely undeveloped, the only means of transport on the island is by boat or on foot with no roads or cars on the island. Because of this it retains its unspoilt beauty with endless white sand beaches, rugged landscape, lush jungle and clear turquoise water.
We stayed in an eco jungle lodge which was a 20 minute speedboat ride from the main town on the island – Abraão. The Atlantic Jungle lodge, which is run by Rudolpho and his wife Claudia, is the perfect place to relax and unwind. With just 4 double rooms it’s set just above Praia do Pouso beach and a 10 minute hike through the jungle to one of the most beautiful beaches is the whole of Brazil – Lopez Mendez. Rudolpho takes care to look after all his guest, available at all times for questions he runs the lodge with care and attention. I loved their commitment to taking care of the environment they live in, turning off the electricity overnight and the middle of the day (depending on the season) to conserve power. The lodge itself is built to fit into the vast jungle backdrop it’s set in and is almost entirely hidden from anyone passing by. Its setting makes it such a peaceful place to relax, lying in the hammock outside your room reading and falling asleep to only the sound of tropical birds in the trees around you and the waves lapping against the sand on the beach below.
Apart from visiting Lopez Mendez, which is a must, there is an abundance of hikes you can partake in on the island as well as water sports like canoeing and surfing. We ate some delicious traditional Brazilian food at the lodge cooked by Claudia. On my Birthday we treated ourselves to Moqueca, a traditional fish stew served with rice and Pirão and it changed our lives, the way that only home cooked food can. Down on Praia do Pouso below the lodge you’ll find a floating restaurant which serves up amazing fresh fish with all sorts of traditional Brazilian sides. They also do awesome brazil BBQ meat, Cachorro Quente (hot dogs) and an abundance of cold beer – perfect respite from a hard days sunbathing on the beach.
Brazil is such an amazing country, I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough. With a rich culture and history the people are kind, funny and caring and we had nothing but good experiences. The area we travelled had some of the most beautiful beaches i’ve ever seen and because all the beaches are public they’ve been kept well preserved with few shops or hotels allowed to build on them preserving their natural beauty. It was hands-down the best trip we’ve ever done and we’ll undoubtedly be back to explore more!