Saturday, June 27, 2015

Spring Break Part 2/2: It's Always A Party in Paraty

Part two of our two part Spring Break took us to Paraty, another city within the state of Rio de Janeiro. We'd heard that Ilha Grande was more of a party town and Paraty was more laid-back, and we were anxious to discover them both on our own.

As we did when traveling from Rio de Janeiro, we traveled with Easy Transfer. The driver was friendly and spoke a small amount of English and was able to drop us off directly at our hostel. For us, it was great because we didn't have to worry about taxis or buses or getting stuck somewhere and not being able to get anywhere because we don't speak Portuguese. We just paid a flat fee at the beginning of the trip and all of our transportation was taken care of. Easy. Hence the name. Given the opportunity to do it again though, I would probably use Easy Transfer to get from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande and then Paraty back to Rio. There are many speed boats and tour groups in Ilha Grande that offer transportation to Paraty; traveling that way would only take about an 1 or 2. By using Easy Transfer to get from Ilha Grande to Paraty, we took a boat to the "mainland" and then drove to Paraty; a trip that took about 5 hours in total.

While in Paraty, we stayed at the Geko Hotel and Pousada which I highly recommend. We stayed in a private room with a private bathroom and it was awesome. The service at the hotel was excellent; they helped us book tours (even when we waited until 30 minutes before the tour was supposed to leave), made suggestions about what to do, and offered free caipirinhas upon check-in. The hostel is located right on the beach and also has a little restaurant right on the sand that serves breakfast each morning (included in the price of the room) as well as dinner each night (not included in the price, but still reasonably priced).

Anyways, Paraty. We LOVED the beaches of Ilha Grande, but weren't opposed to seeing other things since we're pretty spoiled with nice beaches every day. I know, life in Rio is rough. Paraty is pretty well known for their cacha├ža and their waterfalls, so we found a tour that combined the two. It was pretty rainy and chilly (relatively) the day that we went, but it ended up being okay because we were at waterfalls anyways. Throughout the course of the day, we visited two cacharias and 4 or 5 waterfalls. We were able to swim at all the waterfalls, but since it wasn't sunny and I get cold easily, I chose not to. Also, the rain made the waterfalls move a lot more quickly than usually and my sub-par swimming skills weren't really any match for the currents. I didn't feel like I missed out on the day though.

Matt and I Adventurer's Guild-ed our way up a waterfall and then I panicked when I realized that I actually had to climb back down. Typical. Maggie and I also received roses made from palm leaves from a random man on the side of the road, so self-esteem was sky high.

On our second (and final full day) in Paraty, we took another tour to Trindade. Every time that we had mentioned that we were going to Paraty, people has said "Oh it's nice there. You HAVE to go to Trindade." And who are we to argue with the masses?

We started out by going to Praia Brava for some awesome selfie stick opportunities. Praia Brava equals "Rough Beach" and it definitely lived up to it's name. Selfies on the rocks for the win.

Next it was off to the famous Cachada├žo Natural Pool. A bunch of rocks formed this natural pool where, allegedly, many varieties of fish and other things live. By the time we arrived, it was crowded and the water was pretty rough-- both of which stirred up the water too much to see anything. As true Adventurers do, we just decided to climb around on the rocks instead.

We took a R$10 lancha ride back to Meio Beach. Let me tell you, it wasn't a great day for maritime travel, but we survived. When we arrived at Meio Beach, we ordered some hot dogs (with peas on them-- why ruin a perfectly good hot dog?) and climbed around on the rock formation that was right on the beach. Which was awesome until the giant waves came up and over the rocks which was 10% terrifying. Awesome picture-- but terrifying.

30cm long pastels and some gelato wrapped up our time in Paraty. As well as a couple more caipirinhas on the beach.

Paraty was lovely. Given the opportunity, there is plenty more that I would have loved to do there. But I think that most things I wanted to do (beaches, stand up paddle boarding, boating, etc) could be done elsewhere.

It's always a party in Paraty, especially when you're on Spring Break.

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