Paraty is a preserved Portuguese colonial (1500-1822) and Brazilian Imperial (1822–1889) town with a population of about 36,000.It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Paraty has become a popular tourist area in recent years, renowned for the historic town and the coast and mountains in the region. However as the town is only five metres above sea level it is prone to flooding, especially at high tides.
The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande, which is dotted with many tropical islands and it is 236 kilometres south west from Rio de Janeiro. Rising up as high as 1,300 meters behind the town are tropical forests, mountains, and waterfalls. It is the southernmost and westernmost city in Rio de Janeiro State.
Paraty is surrounded by many parks and nature preserves, including Serra da Bocaina National Park, Serra do Mar State Park (of São Paulo), the Park Reserve of Joatinga and the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area, where the village of Trindade is located. The municipality also includes an indigenous village and an Afro-Brazilian quilombo.
A quilombo from the Kimbundu word kilombo is a Brazilian hinterland settlement founded by people of African origin including the Quilombolas, or Maroons. Most of the inhabitants of quilombos (called quilombolas) were escaped slaves and, in some cases, later these escaped African slaves would help provide shelter and homes to other minorities of marginalised Portuguese, Brazilian aborigines, Jews and Arabs, and/or other non-black, non-slave Brazilians who experienced oppression during colonization. However, the documentation on runaway slave communities typically uses the term mocambo to describe the settlements. “Mocambo” is an Ambundu word that means “hideout”, and is typically much smaller than a quilombo. Quilombo was not used until the 1670s and then primarily in more southerly parts of Brazil.
Photograph of Rua da Lapa, the main street of Paraty was taken 3rd September 2006