First settled in the 16th Century, Parati, a small coastal village located 125 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, became a hugely wealthy town in the 18th Century as it was the principal port for the export of gold and other precious minerals from the state of Minas Gerais back to Portugal.
- Go on a horseriding adventure through the beautiful Atlantic rainforest
- Sample some Cachaca at one of the local distilleries – Gabriela is a favourite !
- Soak up the Portuguese history as you wander Parati’s colourful, cobbled streets
- Swim in the Tarzan & Toboga waterfalls in the surrounding rainforest
- Take a boat trip to explore hidden coves, lush bays and golden beaches
As it prospered, so the town was endowed with a huge number of beautiful churches and private homes and many of these elaborate buildings and pretty cobblestone streets remain today which have turned Parati into a colonial gem and a UNESCO designated monument. When a quicker route was established for the export of this mineral wealth, the town gradually fell into decline, but it remains a fascinating architectural time capsule and exploring the historical centre of Parati on foot gives the feeling of travelling back in time.
There are three main churches which provide enduring evidence of the prosperity of the town and these are Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of Rosary) and São Benedito dos Homens Pretos (St. Benedict of the Black Men) which was built by and for the slaves, and finally Igreja Santa Rita dos Pardos Libertos (St. Rita) which was the church for freed mulattos.
Built in 1703 to defend the gold against pirate attacks, the Portuguese constructed a large fort called the Fort of Perpetual Defense, which is well worth a visit and houses an art centre.
For those seeking the golden beaches of the southern coast, the town of Parati itself does not have any great beaches, but the Costa Verde coastline, including the renowned Angra dos Reis area had lots of fabulous beaches, uninhabited islands and gin clear waters that make it a natural paradise for swimming and boating. Please see our preferred hotels under the ‘Beaches of Brazil’ highlight.