The beaches in Paraty offer you a huge advantage. The feeling that you own idyllic isolated beaches for an entire afternoon, or who knows a day. The most relevant tips are that you must pick the right season - which is from Nov to early Dec, and during the weekdays. The usual daily tours offered by agencies are not costly, but if you can afford to pay approx USD60 per person, you can upgrade your experience at the beaches significantly. If you are one of those looking for something more personalised, go for the sailors who offer daily tour services for small groups (approx up to ten). They are waiting for you at the docks at the mainland Historic Center ("cais" in Portuguese), in line, and as you approach them they will suggest you day-tours or hour-tours. Their initial negotiation price is USD 25 per hour, but if you define the route, stops and the approximate quantity of hours, you may get a daily pack price of approx USD 60 per person. It is the price I obtained for a full day sailing with a small number of stops, for two persons. This is also a much better option if you prefer to enjoy more of the beach time or the snorkelling time instead of sailing time. Two beaches not to be missed are PRAIA DA LULA (means squid's beach, approx one hour from the mainland docks) and SACO DA VELHA (approx 1,5 hours from the mainland docks) beaches. They are small and extraordinarily beautiful and clean with warm, calm and crystal emerald green water. Perfect for a couple or a family with small children. Suggestions for snorkelling points are LAGOA AZUL and ILHA DO ALGODAO (approx 1,5 hours from the mainland docks, and only ten minutes from the SACO DA VELHA beach). One suggestion is to leave the docks at approx 10:30 o'clock, head straight to the ILHA DO ALGODAO for an amazing, lazy lunch at the RESTAURANTE DO HILTINHO, and spend the afternoon at the SACO DA VELHA. More often than not, you will find yourself completely alone there, it is a feeling of exclusivity that you can not get if you are there at the busy season. Be prepared to be spoiled. If you were happy with the services of the sailor, I advise you to pick the same sailor/ boat for all your following trips. Unfortunately, most of them do not speak English. It is a long wait until you get to the beach, but it is a certainty that you will be rewarded with a stunning view. Make sure you take this extra money for the boat trips and don't miss the best things in the surroundings! All price references as of Dec/2012.
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