01 March 2010


Paraty is a colonial town dating back to the mid 17th Century. The old part of town is about 5 blocks big and borders the water. There are many well-worn churches, which were interestingly segregated between rich women, blacks, landowners, and workers.

Colonial towns are a big tourist attraction throughout South America. They were built in the 16th and 17th Centuries by Spanish and Portugeuse colonizers. We've seen a few, starting with our very first city of Antigua, Guatemala. The difference there was that the colonial part of town is still used. Normal business like bakeries, laundry mats and banks occupy buildings that are hundreds of years old. Rules are in place to keep up the historic buildings and limit traffic. In Paraty, however, the buildings are only used for restaurants and tourism offices. This gives the town a generic, touristy feel, even though the churches have a much more fascinating history. It was well worth the two day visit, but lacked anything beyond standard site-seeing to entice us to stay longer.

We also noticed that the Brazilian coast attracts a lot of British and Australian travelers. They aren't quite as budget-minded as we've seen elsewhere in South America. Furthermore, they tend to smoke, drink and party a lot. We didn't enjoy our stay at the hostel in Paraty due to this. Even the hostel workers were smoking inside and nonstop. It's hit or miss with hostels. That's one of the things we get to put up with while traveling.

One of the five main churches. This one was right on the waterfront and it's entrance is completely flooded. It rained both days we were in Paraty.

A typical building in the old part of town. No buildings are more than two-stories tall.

This building has obviously been well maintained. It now functions as a very pricey hotel.

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