We managed to find our way onto a local bus heading the 2 hours south of Ilhe Grande to Paraty (pronounced Para – chee), a stunning colonial town surrounded by jungled mountains and bays dotted with islands.
We were staying in the old town in a lovely old pousada which overlooked the uneven cobblestone streets and pretty whitewashed houses. Paraty is one of Brazil’s best preserved colonial towns and was preparing itself for the carnival starting that friday so everything had been given a lick of paint and a spruce, making it picture perfect (no pressure Wayne).
We arrived mid afternoon and wandered the streets before settling in the main square for an evening of extra strong caiparinhas.
The next day we signed up for something we had been meaning to do for the last 7 months – a kayaking trip. Our trip was a 16km paddle with the fabulous Paulo from Interacao Ambiental, 2 brits, a kiwi and a Brazilian. Paulo taught us the basics and then we were off into the open sea (well a sheltered bay) heading towards a gorgeous secluded island with a golden beach and great snorkeling, where we spent a happy hour getting the feeling back into our arms.
On the way back we were lucky enough to have the tide coming in with us, which gave us just enough depth to allow us to paddle through mangrove swamps. At times we were only in a couple of inches of water but the banks of the swamps were lined with bright red crabs who clicked their claws at us as we paddled past.
In the evening, Paraty kicked off its Carnival celebrations in the main square so we got in a few practice moves ready for our final destination – RIO!