We arrived in Paraty late afternoon and had pre-booked our hostel for a few days. We had jumped off the bus and were heading to a main street to get our bearings when we were stopped by a hostel rep on a bike who told us to wait for a few of minutes as there were another couple who were heading to the same place as us that already knew where they were going, we all headed there together.
The hostel is part of a chain and it was a nice place the receptionist was nice and we settled into our room before grabbing a shower and heading out to the bar. We had decided to eat in the hostel because the kitchen was so small and busy, it always seems a bit cheaper to do this sometimes and you get a good meal. Turns out the food was fantastic!
The next day we had decided to have a look around Paraty and then to decide what to do in the next few days. Looking around the small town was very beautiful and was really nice to walk around, the Lonely Planet guide describes it as "you know a place is authentic when cobblestones are so uneven, it's actually painful to walk the streets. That's Paraty for you." That's actually an understatement because the cobblestones are more like boulders and you had to watch every step so you didn't fall over or break your ankles. The locals seemed to be able to ride bikes and drive their cars down the somehow but must have had a load of practice and repairs on their cars!
We were hoping for it to be sunny so we could spend a few days on the beach, the main reason people come here, unfortunately this wasn't going to happen! It was warm just a bit overcast. We decided to go kayaking the next day and hoped that the weather would change and warm up in the next few days. It wasn't really cold though, just overcast and rainy.
We got up ready for kayaking and were waiting in the reception area as advised. It was getting quite late (we had been waiting about 45 minutes) so we decided to ask when we were going to be picked up, it appeared that we were told the wrong information and we were meant to have been meeting the group on the beach. We had to move quickly and just about made it. After talking to some other people who were there they had all been told to go to the wrong place as well and ended up at the wrong beach 3km's away. We finally got sorted and then onto the water to practice.
The trip was all day and we had started at 11oclock, we were in a group of 15 some were on the tour round the bay and some had just hired kayaks for the morning and were tagging along. It was warm but overcast so good conditions; the water was flat with no waves as well which was nice. First stop a small island to all meet up, then a paddle across the bay to the mangroves. Once we reached the groves we split into two groups and headed in, the tide was out so it was quite low, as we went through we saw all the crabs they were in the trees as well as on the banks, small red ones I'm not sure which species they were. We went all the way in and the branches seemed to get lower and lower it was a bit like doing the limbo in kayaks. We headed to the end and turned around, not as easy as it sounds when there were 8 kayaks in a small space. We managed to turn and get out without anyone falling in so that was a bonus, the next one was a bit easier and actually went out the other side so everyone could go back into the open and turn around, apart from the crabs and the occasional stork there was not much more wildlife.
We then went around the spit of land and paddled to our lunch destination, a restaurant on the beach. It looked very nice but it was quite windy so we were all a bit cold, if you can believe it we went into the sea to warm up. I gave Sarah my shirt so that she was a bit warmer, once we got back into the kayaks and started going again we all soon got warm again. We had about two hours for lunch and the next port of call was an island we think it was privately owned and we walked around the edge of it, the beaches were really nice. There was even a very large wasp dragging a very large spider off the beach to devour, a weird site.
On the way back the sea had got a bit choppier and the wind had got up so it was a bit harder, that was good though and gave us a bit of a much needed workout! When we got back to the beach we had to get the kayaks out of the water and grab our stuff before walking back, 8 hours after we started.
The next day we had decided to go on the boat trip hoping that it was going to be sunny as it involved snorkelling and swimming. When we first headed down to the boat it was quite warm and sunny but the clouds soon came over and took the sun away, never mind we headed around the bay and took in a few stops, we all declined the snorkelling as it was so cold and it would have taken ages to warm back up again with no sun. I was a shame really as there were so many fish it would have been brilliant, we will have to wait till one of our next destinations. We did get to an island and the tour guide said about there being monkeys on the island, he threw some banana onto a rocky outcrop and then started making noises to attract them, after what seemed like an age they appeared, after becoming used to us being there a couple of them started to sit on the ledge and eat the fruit. Sarah got some good shots of them, there was also a hungry iguana that climbed down started eating all the left overs.
Heading back it was freezing, especially as the boat didn't have any protective sides, we had taken our jumpers but it was still cold, at least the journey back was quick not like the one we had experienced in Bolivia! This one was fairly quick and when we arrived back we all headed back to the hostel.
The next day we relaxed and sorted out our tickets for the trip to Sao Paulo, we also had a wander round the streets before heading to the beach. We walked along and found a nice bar to sit at and have a drink whilst watching a group play volleyball. It wasn't that warm but still hot enough to be in our t-shirts and shorts, it was a nice and relaxing afternoon. The last night at the hostel was an all you can eat BBQ which was brilliant we all had a good time, then off to bed for a good night's sleep before packing in the morning and getting the bus to our last stop in South America.