Night out in Old Town Paratay, Brazil
After many twists and turns on the drive over the mountains and through the fog, our van came upon the coastal Colonial town of Paratay. Once Paratay was a very important place in Brazil because of it’s water location on the Bay of Ilha Grande in the trade of gold, sugarcane, and slaves. Today the Old Town has been restored making for a glorious blast back to the past.
Our hotel was outside of Old Town, as most are, so we walked along the waterway for pretty views with our exercise. No cars are allowed in Old Town so at least in the historical section of town, walking is your only option!
While not as hot and humid as in the rainforest near Iguassu Falls, it was still warm but with some coastal breeze. Freshly cut open coconuts for refreshment:
The hour before sunset is beautiful in Paratay and the ambiance is amazing. You can tell who lives in Paratay and who is visiting because the streets in Old Town are treacherous because of the giant, non-level stones. Locals are not looking down and tourists have to watch every step!
There are a lot of little souvenir shops around Old Town selling jewelry, magnets, liquor, crafts, and more. I ended up buying some earrings, liquor, and a magnet. Covid-19 is in ramping up in Europe at this point of my trip so there are few tourists and most restaurants, shops, and the streets were fairly empty.
After a brief history lesson from some locals, we ended our little walking tour at the liquor store to try some of the famous local liquor, Gabriela.
Paratay is well-known for their version of the caipirinha , named the Jorge Amado. What makes the Jorge Amado special is the use of Gabriela, a clove and cinnamon infused cachaca (a rum-like spirit). The name Gabriela comes from the novel called Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon written by Jorge Amado in 1958.
Add some passionfruit and you have a delicious, refreshing cocktail.
All the restaurants and bars in the area serve the Jorge Amado so make sure to try one. I also purchased a small bottle myself to take home and attempt to make a non-passionfruit version. Passionfruits are hard to find in non-tropical Maryland unfortunately.
All the booze we tasted at the liquor store:
After all that booze it was time for dinner in Paratay. There is a plethora of restaurants in Old Town and we ended up at an amazing Italian place. European influences are abundant in this part of the world.
With a full belly and tired legs, we stumbled over the streets (because of the uneven road not because of the drinks, probably) out of Old Town and took a taxi back to the hotel and swam a bit in the pool before bedtime. Paratay is a fun, little town!