Paraty, Brazil

Guest writer Marele Day is author of the award-winning Claudia Valentine crime novels as well as wonderful literary works Lambs of God and her most recent (and evocative) The Sea Bed. Here, she visits Paraty, a Brazilian town with cobblestone streets, natural beauty and a vibrant cultural life. With her is artist and photographer Gary Worley.


Views of Paraty including Praia do Pontal (bottom)

With its island-studded bay, secluded beaches, verdant jungle surroundings, the small town of Paraty is the perfect chill-out place to end our visit to Brazil. We are staying at one of the town’s many appealing guesthouses, pousada Morro do Forte. As the name suggests, it’s on the hill occupied by the old fort, with spectacular views of the town – a patchwork of white buildings, trees and lush gardens. A schooner is moored in the bay, with masts of yachts faintly visible in the distance. Jutting into the sky is the bell tower of Nossa Senhora das Dores church, a black metal cockerel at its peak. As the bell tolls six, we stroll down to the beach for the evening caipirinha. The national cocktail consists of sugar, crushed lime and cachaça, a potent alcohol derived from sugar cane. We order it sem açucar (without sugar) and while away the balmy evening, watching the islands turn misty, the only sounds the sea quietly lapping the shore and ice melting in our glasses.