When we decided to go to Paraty, all the locals we’ve met in Rio said: “Oh, nice! That’s a nice city, yes. How long you’re going for? Yeah, one day is enough”. To tell you honestly: one day IS enough.
In Paraty (also spelled as Parati) you can go to the harbor and talk to local boat owners about them driving you around to different small islands. The price is negotiable and shouldn’t be too steep. That is pretty much the best entertainment in Paraty.
The city is quite cute. There’s plenty of white buildings with colourful windows and doors, but very soon you realize that all the streets in the old town look more or less the same. It’s not a big city, so you probably won’t be able to walk around there all day, but if you want some peace and quiet, it’s a good option for that. On the evening of our arrival the town had a birthday, but even then it wasn’t very busy.
The very frustrating thing about Paraty is that food prices seemed to be much higher than in Rio, and food variety is not that big: more than half of restaurants we saw served pizza. This could be an issue if you are trying to stay healthy on the road. However, we found a place that is called Amarelinho; its a bit similar to a buffet, but you take whatever you want and then pay for the weight of your food. This way we could avoid usual rice and pasta and get some veggies and meat instead. There are also few supermarkets in town, so you can cook your own food if you want to. Talking about prices – even coffee is more expensive than in Rio, and it’s not even that good.
All in all, I think Paraty is worth a quick stop, especially if you’re visiting Ilha Grande or if you are going South from Rio and need a break. But keyword is “quick”; I wouldn’t stay there for more than two days. One day for island hopping and another for enjoying the city, unless you are staying in the hotel you really like and just want to take your time working or relaxing in a quiet place.