Since it had been awhile since I had traveled on my own, I hesitantly booked a bus ticket from the Rodoviaria Tietê (bus station) in São Paulo and the friend who I was visiting there to the quaint colonial town of Parati.
Not only did I make some wonderful friends on an eventful bus ride through the mountains, I was also enamored with the town and the whitewashed village shops and homes with colorful windows and doors. I could not stop taking photos of the cobblestones and fantastic paint job.
Parati has a lot to offer beyond its colonial history including boat trips on the tropical Atlantic Ocean, waterfalls, hiking, bicycling, Brazilian dancing, and sweet treats sold on the street corners.
On a shoe string at the time, I stayed at the Misti Chill Pousada which is one of the nicest, most helpful, and well-run hostels I have stayed in.