Pirates in Paraty
Forte Defensor Perpétuo was built in 1703 to defend against pirate raids on the gold passing through Paraty’s port, then rebuilt in 1822 upon Brazil’s independence from Portugal. It’s a 20-minute walk north of town. To get there, cross the bridge over the Rio Perequê Açu, then climb the Morro da Vila Velha, the hill past Praia do Pontal. The fort commands sweeping views over the bay and houses a small museum with rotating cultural and historical exhibits.
Islands & Beaches
Paraty has some 65 islands and 300 beaches in its vicinity. To visit the less-accessible beaches, take an organized schooner tour. Multiple boats depart daily from the Cais de Turismo at the southeastern edge of the historic center; tickets average about R$65 per person.
Alternatively, you can hire one of the small motorboats at the port for a private tour. Local captains know some great spots and will take you out for around R$100 per hour, which can be a good deal if you have a large enough group.
The closest fine beaches on the coast – Vermelha, Lula and Saco da Velha – are all east of Paraty, roughly an hour away by boat. Good island beaches nearby include Araújo and Sapeca; many other islands have rocky shores and are private. The mainland beaches tend to be better; most have a handful of beachgoers and barracas (stalls) serving beer and fish.
Back in Paraty, walking north across the river, the first beach you’ll reach is Praia do Pontal. A cluster of open-air restaurants lines its shore, but it's not great for swimming. Another 2km further north is Praia do Jabaquara, a spacious beach with great views and shallow waters that's ideal for kayaking and stand-up paddling.