In a country known for it’s coastline, Paraty is widely regarded as one of Brazil’s most charming beach towns. With a stunningly preserved colonial center, a verdant jungle backdrop and a bay filled with turquoise waters and white sand beaches, it’s a place right out of a postcard. Unfortunately for my travel companion Heather and I, our stay was largely shrouded in clouds and storms. However, during one reprise from the rain, we seized the day in order to escape the city center and enjoy one of my favorite pastimes — horseback riding.
Our driver met us at our hotel and drove us to the stables. We arrived at the stable and met our guide Joao, who then introduced us to the horses. We knew the group sizes were deliberately kept small but we were delighted when we realized it was just going to be the two of us. While Heather and I are similar in many ways, our heights happens to be about a foot apart. Luckily Joao was there to help match our horses to both our stature and personality.
Once aboard our steeds we trotted off into the rainforest to explore Brazil’s infamous Costa Verde. As we ascended the winding road up a mountain Joao made sure we were comfortable riding our new friends. While we did not exactly share a common language, we both did our best to communicate with smiles and gestures.
We rode past some local farms where we got a glimpse into the life a local in rural Paraty. I thought this would be my favorite stop of the day, but that was before we rode up to a beautiful stream to refill our water bottles and soak up the scenery. Joao humored us by taking my camera and snapping some photos of Heather and I practicing silly yoga poses by the water.
As we rode back into town many of the local kids ran up to pet the horses and greet Joao, who was clearly a beloved figure in the community.
The three-hour tour was full of reflective silence and beautiful scenery, and was a refreshing way to spend the afternoon. We relished the chance to experience a slice of rural existence in Paraty from a vantage point we might not have otherwise experienced — and were thrilled to find an activity for when the weather wasn’t beach-friendly.