The day after we arrived at the historic town of Paraty, we spent the day going to a nearby beach accessible by a short hike. The beach was small, secluded and deserted, a stark contrast to the sprawling and busy Copacabana beach. If you haven’t read about our first days in Rio, click here.
When we stayed in Rio, we took Roark to the beach to get his feet in the water, but since it was winter in Brazil, the water was quite cold. He wasn’t a fan. We tried again in Paraty and after a few tries, he actually found it fun. I just love to see his face’s expressions every time he sees or tries something new.
We spent half a day on the beach, had a quick lunch in town and visited an award winning Cachaça distillery. Cachaça is a sugar cane derived liquor that is widely available in Brazil. When I was growing up, Cachaça was the working men’s alcohol because it was strong and super cheap, but since then, Cachaça has grown in popularity around the world because of a popular drink made with it – Caipirinhas. The product has also become a collectible to some. Specially Cachaças that are artisanally produced like the ones produced by Maria Izabel . Her cheapest bottle costs around U$80, quite steep for something that used to cost a few bucks a bottle when I lived in Brazil. But, she makes one of the best Cachaças in the country, my single-malt, wine collector uncle tells me.
Since I am not drinking these days, what I found more fascinating about the tour was how Maria Isabel built her production- gravity fed with no waste. The raw product – sugar cane – is grown, processed, fermented and sold on site. All the waste from the sugar cane is fed to animals. She pretty much has a green operation from beginning to end.
But Maria Izabel isn’t just any Cachaça producer. She comes from a long-generation of Cachaça makers with records going back to the 19th century. Along the way her family stopped producing it and many years later she retook the craft and made the product she sells today. I always love to hear people’s stories and how they became who they are. Best part of traveling!
If you want to visit this gem, click here. I am not sure she speaks English, I didn’t ask, but there are tours in town of other distilleries in the area with English speaking guides if needed.
After a day spent on the beach in Paraty and Cachaça Maria Izabel, we were pretty tired, but when we got to the house we rented with my family, there was still a celebration to be had. My uncle and aunt cooked for about 35 people to celebrate a couple birthdays, including mine which happened to be the same day as my brother’s wedding. He will never forget this date again, I hope, for his wife’s sake! LOL
The next day we visited Trindade beach, this time a little further away, but accessible by car. A lot of the beaches near Paraty are only accessible by boat or by foot and some of the hikes are quite strenuous. We wanted to take it easy with the little one, so Trindade was the perfect choice. Because it was low season, we pretty much had our choice of beach bar to pick. We were welcomed really well and the waiter was extremely accommodating. He offered to cook and puree anything for Roark. I was not expecting everyone in Brazil to be like that. We really enjoyed it and it made it for a very good experience traveling with little one.
In fact, one of the things that I was very surprised about Brazil, even though I am from there, was that everyone drools over babies, even the men. Everyone wants to talk to them, touch them and play with them. I mean everyone and everywhere. And men were like kids, making funny faces and kiddy voices. It was really fun to observe and we felt like we had a real “village” watching after us.
Later that day we had dinner in town. Paraty was observing a religious holiday for two weeks and the town was decorated with red and white flags and the church was holding several masses during the day. At night, there were many carnival-type events happening, but we didn’t have time to join in the festivities. We had yet another party at the house – we are Brazilians after all! lol
This one was pre-wedding party for my brother and his fiancee. It was a low key event with lots of family and people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I didn’t take many pictures or vlogged, because as you can imagine, I was busy and it got quite dark as the night went on.
A new vlog video is up here.
If you haven’t watched the first video, click here.
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