June 3rd-5th, 2016
After midterms, we were able to take a weekend break at Paraty, a beautiful colonial city located on Costa Verde that runs along the coastline of Rio de Janeiro. Paraty also compromises the National Park of Bocaina and is surrounded by Mata Atlantica, the luscious Atlantic Forest. The city itself is composed of cobble stone pavements, old housing and churches, and bright doors. It is known for its beautiful views of coast and mountains and its rich history of the Portuguese colonial and Brazilian imperial periods. On June 3rd, 2016, we checked into our hostel called Paratryp Hostel located a few minutes away from the colonial center, with shops and restaurants. It was a cute three level building with a common space and separated rooms. It was very homey and was great to stay in during the rainy days.
On June 4th, 2016, the group took a tour and learned about the history of Paraty. Our tour guide, Christian explained the significance of the three churches we visited. Capela de Santa Rita was the oldest church in Paraty and was utilized by the elite and slaves. Capela de Nossa Senhora das Dores was a church built and utilized for the rich women of society and Igreja Matriz da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is the largest church in Paraty taking up over an entire city block. We also learned about the economic significance of sugar cane and how the port of Paraty was an important outlet for gold and precious stones during the 18th century. Pirates took refuge on the beaches which led to the abandonment of the gold route which left Paraty in economic isolation. Today, Paraty has become an attraction for Brazilian and international tourists due to its good state of preservation and natural beauty. After the tour, some students took a four hour boat tour of Paraty’s neighbouring islands while others explored the colonial streets to eat and shop. At night, there was a thunder storm so the group stayed inside our hostel playing card games while watching a soccer game. Overall, our weekend was fun, relaxing and very well needed after two weeks of reading and studying.