Ohana Sailing Adventure

Colorful Paraty

Iconic Ingreja de Santa Rita

When I think of Paraty, the bright rainbow of colors is what first comes to mind.


In the historical center, buildings are maintained with gleaming white wash, punctuated with brightly colored doorways and windowsills. The boats in the harbor are likewise covered in brilliant hues. We were struck by the upkeep and care put into the buildings and vessels; during our short time there, we came across numerous owners taking advantage of the slower season to put on fresh coats of paint.

Paraty is on the western edge of Brazil’s Costa Verde, the southwestern most city in Rio de Janeiro state. Originally inhabited by the Goianás and Tamoios Indians, the Portuguese settlers arrived in the 1500s. Paraty was an important port both for the slave trade (abolished in the early 18th century), and for the gold and gems brought over the mountain on the Camino do Ouro (“Gold Trail”). Now, though, its primary economy is tourism.

DSC_3556And that brings to mind the second thing when I think of Paraty: the multitude of small restaurants, cafes, and stores. The girls both love creating – out of literally anything. So they were quite taken by some of the artistry they found. In one shop, a man was painting brightly colored canoe-shaped fish, inside the curved bark of coconut trees. In another store, a man was selling flattened beer cans painted with some extraordinarily beautiful scenes. We passed ceramic studios, art studios, street vendors with handmade jewelry, small hotels, specialty shops…

Gap in the wall allowing for flooding

The third thing about Paraty? Every month with the higher tides of the full moon, the streets flood; with high spring tides, the streets will completely flood. The city was built purposefully this way, and houses were built raised up two steps to prevent them from flooding. This planning allowed the receding waters after high tides to clean the streets and act as a primitive sanitation system.

Bridge set up to help cross when the street is flooded


DSC_3482And did I mention the horses? No cars are allowed in historic Paraty, so apart from pedestrians, there are only horse-drawn carriages jostling down the cobblestoned streets.


We are planning to leave this part of Brazil in the next few days, but it all depends on the weather! The general plan is to hop up the Brazilian coast to the northeastern / northern part of Brazil over the next few weeks, and then a 1750 nautical mile offshore passage to Trinidad. Pikin, the captain who helped to bring Ohana up from Argentina, is coming back on board to help us with navigating the coast and for that longer passage to Trinidad.

Once we start moving, Ohana can be tracked via the link to the right. And if you’d like to receive emails when there are new blog posts, just sign up to follow the blog!

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