Paraty, located a few hours southwest of Rio on the Emerald Coast, offers an appealing blend of Portuguese colonial architecture and beautiful beaches. I arrived in the late afternoon and wasted no time checking out the colonial center of town. Set against a backdrop of steep, jungled mountains, Paraty’s white-washed buildings with colorful doors and shutters crowd its cobblestone streets. The town’s shops, restaurants, and bars were quiet in the early evening but came alive later at night. After exploring the city, I joined my travel mates for dinner and drinks at a street cafe.
The next morning we chartered a full-day boat tour of Paraty’s islands and beaches. Shortly after setting out to sea, our Jason Momoa look-alike captain starting mixing caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. When I noticed that our captain was drinking the cachaça straight, I followed suit because the caipirinhas were too sweet. After we were sufficiently liquored up, Jason Momoa took us cliff jumping. I cut my hands and feet on a steep, shell-covered rock while climbing out of the water, then walked barefoot on a jungle path to the jumping off point. My jump wasn’t clean. After hitting the water, my body stung, and I heard my boat mates shout “oh” and “ouch.” I treated the pain with more cachaça.
After returning from the boat trip, our hostel owner invited us to his birthday party. We feasted on a BBQ dinner, then more drinks ensued. I don’t remember when the party ended, but I do remember that waking up the next morning was a little rough. We departed Paraty at 6:00 am for the city that gave the world Carnaval: Rio de Janeiro.