After a week of indulgence at carnaval we headed to the small town of paraty for a little R&R.
We had originally planned on travelling to the Ilha grande straight after carnival but due to the weather forecast (rain and thunderstorms for the next few days) and the fact that it was quite expensive to visit we had to give it a miss this time around.
Cofuffle with buses
Paraty is a small fishing village 6 hours by bus from Rio. Once on the bus the only task we had was trying to fall asleep to pass the time away, booking the bus and actually boarding it was another matter entirely!
Buses is Brazil seem to book up quite a few days in advance. Unlike in Asia where we would simply rock up to the Bus station a few hours before or to a tour office, bus tickets in Brazil sell out very quickly. This means that we have to be a little more organised than we had originally planned on these travels.
After scrolling through several bus booking websites we finally found one that would accept our passport numbers as a valid form of identification. On numerous other sites we would get to the final stages of paying for the ticket and would be asked for our CPF numbers -which only Brazilians have- so we’d have to abandon that site.
The prices of bus tickets vary quite a lot online also. Buscaonline is a good site for comparing bus ticket prices but some of the sites recommended (and those with the lower prices) generally need the Brazilian identification numbers. Eventually from Rio to paraty we used the company verde and paid 79 riel (around £15) for the executive range (this was the cheapest ticket available for us and it was actually really nice!)
Paraty is a little fishing village 6 hours outside of Rio. It’s famous amongst backpackers for the picturesque old town, churches and musuems, surrounding waterfalls and all day Caipirinha boat tours!
Unfortunately when we arrived the weather forecast had been spot on and the heavens were truly opened on us as soon as we arrived by bus at 9pm.
The bus station is a few minutes out of town and in the dark the whole place looks a little sketchy so to save ourselves getting soaked and possibly mugged we got in a taxi to our hostel.
2minutes later and we were dropped off at the edge of the old town being told to walk to our hostel and charged 25 riel for the journey! £5! We should have took our chances walking along the streets because the taxi was extortionate!
After begrudgingly paying the taxi driver we had to walk in the rain to try and find our hostel. We had the location from booking.com on our gps so set off down the flooded cobbled streets with our large backpacks on our bags, front backs on, and myself carrying a paper Haviana bag (yes in the rain!).
After running around the streets in the pouring rain for over 10 minutes we finally arrived at our hostel like drowned rats. We were so soaked that the only thing we could do was laugh as we walked through the door way. To make the whole situation funnier as soon as we stepped into the hostel my Haviana bag broke and spilled the contents of the bag all over the floor!
The only way through trying times is to laugh….
After checking into our Hostel we were given sheets to make our bed in the 12 bed mixed dorm. The rooms were pretty shabby but they were the cheapest in the area and still at the top of our budget. The room didn’t even have air conditioning, only a small fan for the entire room!
We are now truly experiencing travelling on a very tight budget!
Food in paraty
Food in the old town of paraty is very expensive for us budget travellers. We found one restaurant that sold beans and rice for 18 riel as two side dishes (they came up huge and were enough for both leah and I). For the rest of the restaurants an average meal would cost between 40 and 60 riel.
Honestly when we arrived the first night and attempted to go for dinner we looked at every menu that we passed and was actually worried that we couldn’t afford to eat here. We were told that there was a supermarket nearby so that was our first stop in the morning!
There is a huge supermarket right by the bus station (literally a few minutes walk from town) which sells everything you need at pretty cheap prices. Leah and I went there and loaded up on fruit, snacks and even a bottle of red wine (the wine cost us 12 riel – £2!).
We had planned on buying ingredients for dinner to cook in our hostel kitchen but we stumbled upon a saving grace before we arrived at the supermarket…. Pay by kilo restaurants!
There were a few of these on the edge of town but our favourite one was Sabor de Terra. The food was really tasty, varied and cheap. Leah and two other guys that we went with got meat from the grill (steak) and said that it was really good – with that you chose what size piece you want and then pay for the weight like usual.
Sites in paraty
Because of the awful weather on the first day we didn’t get to see many sites. We attempted to walk around the old town in our Anoraks and visit yeah churches nearby but every single one of the then was closed during their ‘opening hours’. The only site that appeared to be open was the towns museum. It was quite small but held our interest for half an hour or so.
Luckily on our second day the weather picked up and ended up being really nice and sunny. We spent most of the day chilling at the beach just outside of the old town before catching the bus to our next location: São Paulo.
Running in Paraty
Due to the cobble stone streets running in the old town of Paraty is not the best idea. Instead there is a few km long cycle track once you cross the bridge which runs along the canal. There are also a few parks dotted around the town which have benches and climbing apparatus which make for a great like hiit workout spot.
My favourite was next to the harbour where I did a hiit session in the morning. Although it was a little drissly with the rain, the view was still beautiful. I was even able to use the rattling of the nearby fishing boats engine to tempo my high knee intervals!