Published: November 8th 2011October 14th 2011
Bus ride to Paraty
We arrived in Paraty by bus from Santos via a quick over night stay in Caragatuba. Both Santos and Caragatuba are beach cities, but neither seemed to have much “charm.” The six hours we spent walking around Santos was more painful than productive and by the time we arrived in Caragatuba, we were so exhausted we could only grab a room and sleep for 6 hours before we had to catch the bus to Paraty. When we arrived in Paraty, the terminal area was exciting! It was full of all sorts of people going places. A quick exploration down a side street resulted in finding a shopping area and grocery store full of people. It is always good to know where that is at. While we were waiting at the big sign that said “Tourist Office” a guy came up and offered to show us some hostels and a hotel. He spoke good English, spent 10 years in California, and spoke like it. We weren’t really sure what we were looking for, but we were tired and after traveling for the last 2 days, really we just wanted somewhere to relax and maybe have a bit of a romantic time. The
Bus ride to Paraty
hostels and hotel he showed us were more for the backpacker or party crowd. Had we been there under different circumstances, these accommodations would have been more than adequate. However, situation being what it was, we pressed on to the Misti Chill hostel as it was the ONLY place I had been able to find with spotty internet during the 4 hour bus ride. It was quite a walk and when we arrived to the Misti Chill we were exhausted from carrying our bags along the uneven cobble stone roads that Paraty is known for. Late in the afternoon, and no other place to go, we decided to book the last available room at Misti Chill. To their credit, they were better than the previous hostels we looked at, but still it wasn’t exactly what we wanted. We were tired, wanted to do some exploring, and rather than drag our bags around were quasi happy to stash them in the hostel room, get a beer, and relax a little. As we sat on the dirty beach in front of the hostel, we were whining about our situation. (Side note, the guy from the tourist office gave us some advice. He
Paraty bus terminal
said, even the locals don’t get in the water here. If you see someone in the water, get a long stick and try to pull them out.) Where were the good beaches this place was known for? We were not particularly happy with our lodging, or the beach, but at least we had somewhere to stay. This is what you get sometimes when you travel spontaneously with no plans or reservations. It’s amazing how all of that was about to change. No more than 30 minutes later, we found ourselves exploring the very first street of the old town area. Beautiful old buildings and cobblestone streets that make walking a challenge. I happened to look in the window of a building as we were going by and something caught my eye. When I stopped to look, I groaned. I told my friend, “Don’t look in this window” and she asked why, “because” I told her. “This is where we SHOULD be staying….”
When we went inside the lobby, the front desk man spoke perfect English and was happy to have someone show us two rooms. At my request, he showed us the beautiful pool area and I notice a
Not so great beach in front of the hostel
room (come to find it was a suite) located immediately next to it. We immediately feel in love with the huge, clean, cool room and the shower so big we could have had a party in it (there were two heads on opposite ends and still enough room not to even come close to touching each other). We took the room. The staff was kind enough to send some guys to collect our bags from the hostel and carry them for us to our room. The staff was also kind enough to make a dinner reservation for us at an excellent and romantic Italian restaurant in the area. Later we choose a bottle of wine from the considerable collection in the lobby and again the staff was kind enough to chill it, and serve it to us as we played backgammon by the pool and closed out our evening. In the morning, we were lazy and instead of going to the buffet, we had them bring the buffet to us. They brought us two of everything. It was so much food we had to set the trays on the couch! After eating all that, we walked to the bus station
Not so great beach in front of the hostel Misti chill
and caught the local bus to Trinidad beach. This is the beach experience we were looking for! Beautiful. However, it was a rainy day, so we spent most of the afternoon drinking beer in a bar overlooking the beach and the water and we listened to music. Before we left, we took a long walk (maybe a mile and back) down the beach, put our feet in the water, climbed on the rocks, and took all sorts of pictures. It was nice.
We enjoyed our last night in Paraty getting massages at the local spa and having dinner at a local’s favorite restaurant. But we were exhausted and went to bed relatively early, about 1 am, because we knew we had to leave the next morning to catch the 0920 bus back to Rio (Which, by the way, is sad because the local restaurant becomes a dance club after midnight and we were told it is THE place to be for this very specific type of music and dancing, that I now can't remember the name of, but I digress.). We set our alarm for 0800 thinking that surely an hour is enough time to clear out of the
5-star Porto Imperial. Well, I forgot that my friend likes to hit the snooze button two or three times, and we absolutely had to hit the gourmet breakfast, and the awesome shower equally demanded a long goodbye. So there we are at 0900 still trying to get out of the room. I called the front desk and had them call us a taxi and, shortly thereafter, we very quickly signed our bill at the front desk and began what seemed to be a very lea surly drive to the bust terminal. Well, as we arrived to the bus terminal (I swear we were only 3 minutes late. Those bus operators keep a tight schedule) we saw a bus from our bus company leaving. Not sure if it was actually our 0920 bus to Rio, we pulled up to the terminal and at the taxi driver’s indication, I jumped out to ask someone. Note: I don't speak Portuguese. But after about 30 seconds of conversation it was quickly evident that it was our bus we saw leaving as we pulled in. So, back into the taxi (this time the driver is moving with speed) and we chased down the highway after
the ONLY bus to Rio that will allow me to make my afternoon flight back home. Luckily, there was road construction and we managed to catch the bus waiting only 10 minutes down the road. In a great hurry, the taxi pulled along side the bus, we showed our tickets, loaded our bags, quickly got to our seats and The taxi leaves. We were quite happy that we made it. Suddenly another taxi pulls up and I'm thinking maybe we aren't the only people who are late for the bus! As it turns out, it's the same taxi driver and he has found my wallet in the backseat. He quickly delivers my wallet to me on the bus and I thank him over and over. In retrospect I should have given that guy a big tip for that. But in the energy of the moment and the publicness of the event in front of everyone on the bus, I completely neglected to do so and I regret it! But what a morning! That was the last big adventure on my Brazil trip and I flew out that afternoon as scheduled.
There are more photos below