Paraty is rich in beaches: More than 200 can be found along the surrounding coastline and among some 65 islands. Most of the island beaches can be visited by boats leaving from Paraty’s Cais de Porto. Those up and down the coastline can be reached by car or bus. Although the town has its own beaches, they aren’t that attractive.
The closest, Praia do Pontal, is a 10-minute walk from the centro histórico. While its beach barraca scene is lively, swimming isn’t recommended. Cleaner and more deserted are Praia do Forte and Praia do Jabaquara.
Some of the finest and most easily accessible beaches are at Trindade, a fishing village and former hippie hangout, 25 kilometers (16 miles) south of Paraty along the Rio–Santos highway. The stunningly wild beaches of Cepilho and Brava are ideal for surfing, while Praia do Meio and Praia Cachadaço (which is also good for snorkeling) are prized for their calm waters and natural swimming pools. You can get to Cachadaço by a 20-minute hike through the forest or by boat from Praia do Meio. Trindade’s most far-flung beaches—Praia do Sono and Praia do Antigo–are gloriously unspoiled. Reaching them entails a 2–3-hour hike.
Also close by—18 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of Paraty (8 kilometers/5 miles of which are on an unpaved road)–is Paraty-Mirim, with a lovely bay, invitingly calm waters, and beach barracas. You can reach it by municipal bus or by boat. From here, you can catch a boat to the beautiful beaches of Saco do Mamanguá, Cajaíba, and Grande da Deserta. These beaches are all backed by lush jungle and boast waterfalls in close proximity.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition