As part of our 3-night stay in Paraty, I had decided to book us the top 3 attractions according to our good friends at TripAdvisor. This trek lived up to its status and reviews. I had emailed with Michael Smyth, partner/owner of Paraty Explorer, before leaving the U.S. to arrange the date of the hike, appropriate footwear, lunch options, and pay the deposit via PayPal. So great to correspond with Michael ahead of time. It was an even nicer surprise to have Michael as our guide up Mamangua Sugarloaf Peak for the day, as well as his Czech co-guide Miko (sp?). After a short car ride from our pousada, we took a bouncy, potholed bus trip to Paraty Mirim (aka Little Paraty) where gold was shipped to Portugal, and slaves were imported from Africa. Waldir, a local boat operator and fisherman, ferried us around the peninsula from Mirim to Mamangua Bay where we would start our hour-long trek up to the summit of Mamangua Peak. As a tourist side note, Michael pointed out where the crew of "Twilight", the teenage vampire series had recently rented out a house to do some filming.
After dropping some gear off at the local restaurant where we would have lunch, we started up. And up. And up. The native people didn't believe in switchbacks here, so a lot of the hike is going up natural stairs and ledges made by roots of trees in the remnants of the Atlantic rainforest. Michael paused every 10-15 minutes to let us out of shape folks catch our breath, take a drink, and absorb the beauty. I noted earlier we had corresponded by email about footwear, as we didn't want to bring extra hiking shoes or boots just for today, and we managed to go up and down in Tevas just fine (down was a bit trickier). After about an hour and probably 400+ meters in elevation and 2+ km in length, we reached the impressive round summit of Mamangua Sugarloaf. The views are a spectacular 360 degrees, over the tropical "fjord" (really a drowned river mouth, not glacial), Paraty Bay, Ilha Grande, and beyond. The clouds would roll in and out, and the character of the views would change every few minutes. Michael and Miko were extremely friendly and helpful guides, answering just about every question we had for them. After some snacks and rest on the summit, we took about half the time getting down and took a brief dip in the cool water before lunch. We had settled on the fresh squid, which was delicious, accompanied by basic and tasty rice, beans, salad, and farofa (fried manioc flour). It was a fulfilling, long, and memorable day with Paraty Explorer!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.