..::Pirates of the Atlantic::..

Paraty was founded by Portuguese colonizers in 1667, in a region populated by the Guaianás Indians. The Guaianás people made a trail from the hinterland to reach the coast, where they fished, dried and processed into meal a fish they called Pirati found abundantly in the river. They called the entire area “Paraty”. The Amerindians normally described locations according to geographical landmarks. The name Paraty in the Tupi language means an opening to the sea, gulf or bay.

After the discovery of the world's richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and Portugal. The gold rush led to the construction of the "Caminho do Ouro" or "Gold Trail" (using the old trail of the Guianás), a 1200 kilometer road which connected Paraty to Diamantina via Ouro Preto and Tiradentes. It was used to transport gold to Paraty, but also to convey supplies, miners and African slaves. But pirates who frequented the islands of the Bay of Angra dos Reis attacked the gold laden ships bound for Rio de Janeiro! A safer overland route from Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro was created. The gold began to run out in the late 1700s. In the 19th century, the same route was used to transport coffee from the Paraíba valley.

Paraty is very famous for its production of cachaça, a sugarcane-derived spirit used for the caipirinha and the gabriela (cachaça, clove and honey)!!

Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Dores.
This chapel dates back to 1800. It was used mostly by the rich women of society. The image of Nossa Senhora da Piedade was stolen from this chapel. It was finally recovered in the 1990s.

Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Remédios is the largest church in Paraty.

In 1636, as a result of population growth, a lady called Maria Jácome de Melo donated the part of her land between the rivers of Paratiguaçu and Patitiba for the construction of a settlement, on condition that a church would be built in praise of the saint to which she was devoted, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Healing).

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito

This church was built and used by Paraty’s African slaves.

Igreja de Santa Rita is the oldest church in Paraty. It was completed in 1722. This was the church of the white elite and freeman, former slaves who earned or paid for their freedom.

During the colonial times Trindade was the port used by the pirates to attack the shipping of Paraty. The present residents still talk of legends of lost treasure and chests full of gold. During the sixties the spot was discovered by the hippies.

Ponta Negra


The history of Ilha Grande and its prison meant that few people wanted to live on the island, despite its rugged natural beauty.

The first Europeans to settle on the island were pirates, waiting to attack ships leaving Paraty and Angra dos Reis that were laden with gold from the goldfields inland.

The terrain and isolation of the island meant that it served well as a leper colony and a prison for some of Brazil’s most violent criminals.

Eventually the island’s beauty was put under protection from further development, the prison was shut in the 1990s.

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