Swallowed up by dense green swathes of rainforest, the gorgeous 18th-century architecture of Paraty sits in a spectacular location on Brazil’s verdant Costa Verde. This beautifully preserved, colonial town waits in a lush national park, surrounded by mountains, idyllic islands and glorious beaches. The pedestrianised town is a gorgeous whitewash canvas, splashed with bold blocks of primary colours, which shine above cobbled streets, strung with pretty floral displays. Cars are nowhere to be seen, and the sounds of clacking hooves and bouncing carriage wheels echo along the streets. Built below sea level, the cobbles occasionally fill with a gentle flood at high tide, adding a layer of transient, picturesque reflections.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 18th-century gold trade attracted the Portuguese colonisers, who left an enduring, colourful imprint. Gold was stripped from the nearby Minas Gerais and brought to Paraty’s port, before being shipped away to Europe. Astonishingly well preserved, the town is now an artisan hub, and workshops open their doors wide to showcase artisans crafting everything from ceramics to hand-woven baskets and paintings. Local chefs also cook up flavourful feasts in the town’s kitchens, with the tempting smells spilling out as you explore.
Stunning waterfalls gush within the thick forestry of Serra da Bocaina National Park, where endangered jaguars and woolly spider monkeys roam. Cling on for dear life as your jeep rolls through trails, seeking out rolling waterfalls and river bathing pools. Back in the city, toast your exploits with a perfect caipirinha cocktail, created using local ingredients like the area’s sugarcane. Slow the pace further with a trip to the golden sands of Vermelha Beach. Nestled into a verdant natural setting, the heavenly cove is the perfect place to swim or enjoy stacks of fried shrimps.