I contacted many pousadas in Paraty about a month prior to our trip. We were going to be there just before the New Year's holidays, so we figured that accommodations might be scarce - and they were. Fortunately through email and then a phone call we found room at the inn at the Pousada Caminho do Ouro.
The website doesn't exactly provide you with a great first impression, but don't let put you off. The pousada is owned by a great couple, Adriana and Christophe. Adriana speaks several languages, including English, but Christophe speaks just French and Portuguese. I started emailing with Adriana in English, but I called to make the reservation and provide my credit card; half of the stay was prepaid. This was done with Christophe and seulment en français.
We started our Brazilian adventure in Rio, and we arrived in Paraty like most travelers, via bus. Although if you'd think the distance between the two cities could be covered in a couple hours, you'd be forgiven; it's a good 4.5h bus ride through some pretty cliff-hugging terrain.
We arrived at the Paraty bus stop around midnight with the expectation that we would be picked up. However, we were not able to contact the Pousada that day due to not finding a working pay phone. So we had to take a cab to the pousada. The driver wanted R$30; I told him R$20, and we agreed on R$25. Do not pay more than that.
Unfortunately when we arrived at the pousada, some 6km from town, it was locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Make SURE you arrange with the proprietors if you arrive late like us. Otherwise you'll wake up the neighbors, gather a crowd of gawkers and helpers, encourage a boy to hop the wall to open the gate, and 'break in' to the pousada.
By the way he was dressed, it was clear Christophe was not expecting to see us. We were thrilled to be in and quite happy that he wasn't packing heat upon our surprise early morning arrival.
I really cannot say enough about Christophe and Adriana. They are very professional innkeepers and did everything to make our stay a memorable one. They're also very pleasant and willing to engage you in conversation. We learned a lot about Brazil through them.
Christophe is a trained chef, and let's just say that he didn't get kicked out of France for being a bad cook! Breakfast was plentiful every morning with the usual array of ham and cheese, but also with freshly baked rolls and pastry, fresh fruits and juices, and always something special, too.
Because of the holiday, it was required of us to buy a forfait, so we had one dinner included, too. The food was magnificent, and they have a nice wine list, too. All ingredients are locally sourced, and as fresh as possible. The name of the bistro is Voilå, and is open to the public. Even if you choose to stay somewhere else, I would recommend a meal there.
The property has a great setting, perched above a swiftly moving stream. It's very relaxing to be there especially because the pace of Paraty can be a little overwhelming. We used the pousada as our private retreat each night after a long day of sightseeing.
The rooms are spacious, but we found ours a bit dimly lit and dank. The a/c took care of the latter issue. The bed was comfy enough, but could have been better. But safely was never an issue, and everything was clean.
One thing we found interesting was that we were told that we were the first Americans staying at the property in two years of the current ownership. It made us feel a little smugly satisfied!
The place seems to be most popular among visiting Brazilians from the south. We were befriended by one such couple, and quickly became bff's with them. They had a car which was super convenient to get into town or reach the beaches of Trindade. We also ended up having dinner with them every night which we thought was a little odd considering it was their honeymoon. We thought that maybe we were not perceiving a cultural nuance there, but it turns out it was not the case. We really enjoyed our time with them, and tears were actually shed by them as they were bidding us our farewell back at the bus station. They've already invited us to Florianopolis next year!
So, to conclude, I'd highly recommend this pousada. Great out-of-town setting - but close enough to be convenient, super hosts, decent rooms, fantastic setting, and stellar food.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Caminho do Ouro is located 6 km from Paraty´s historic centre. It features air-conditioned rooms, a French restaurant and a deck overlooking the rapids of a river among exuberant vegetation.The rooms at Pousada Caminho do Ouro have a cosy, rustic décor. They are equipped with queen beds, satellite TV and minibar. Accommodation includes free Wi-fi access and free parking.Served on the deck, breakfast consists of items like tropical fruit, crepes, madeleines and omelettes. At Voilà Bistrot, guests savour other specialities prepared with truffles, foie gras and game meats.For relaxation, Caminho do Ouro offers balconies with hammocks, massage room, reading kiosk and river beach. Guests can also watch exotic birds in the hotel´s surroundings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pousada Caminho Do Ouro Paraty, Brazil