The colonial town of Paraty, located on the Costa Verde in Brazil, is renowned for its cobbled stone streets, historic buildings, magical beaches and jungle. For me it was a wonderful place because everything about it was so unexpected; it’s such a quiet town that I wasn’t exactly hoping for banging nightlife, but on my first night there I found myself at an Afrobeat party on a farm with two girls from Uruguay and a whole lot of Brazilians wearing funny hats. Everyone was dancing under a canopy beside a giant screen displaying trippy visuals, behind which there was a fairly impressive bonfire and several people playing drums. The girls and I befriended some locals, who invited us down to the beach where we smoked a joint and danced in the sea for a bit, before returning to the farm and playing on some giant tyre swings, chuckling at the randomness of the situation.
I continued to have unique encounters with memorable people in Paraty, such as the staff at Paraty Beach Hostel, who plied me with tasty but deadly caiprihnas and refused to let me pay for any of the barbecues they prepared. I spent a lot of time with Nico, a South African guy staying at the hostel, and we began embarking on little adventures around the town and its surroundings together. One day we broke into an unused ranch, went for a dip in the river then proceeded to climb to the top of a steep rock, from where we could gaze into the depths of the jungle and watch tiny monkeys in the trees as they swung between branches. Another time, Nico and I spent the morning clambering through woodland in order to reach the quietest, most remote spots along the shore and take advantage of the calm, clear seawater.
I was reluctant to leave Paraty, especially when I was offered a job at the hostel, however Argentina was beckoning at this stage, so I eventually dragged myself away. It’s an unmissable destination for anyone visiting Rio though and I’d highly recommend staying at Paraty Beach Hostel if you go!