The drive from Sao Paulo to Paraty is about 300km (186 miles) and takes 4.5 hours. Taking the nicer roads meant driving through Taubate, and Ubatuba, to get to Paraty.

We headed out Saturday morning at 9am. The traffic was not too bad in the city. It did not take too long to re-familiarize myself with stick shift driving. Since they drive on the right side of the road just like back in the US, I had one less thing to worry about. Before heading out, I perused a quick list of local traffic rules that I found at this website 1.

The President Dutra highway was in excellent condition, and people were driving more or less sensibly. There were about 4 toll gates on the way to Taubate. After paying the toll, the toll attendants would say something in Portuguese which we never quite understood. They were not stopping us, so we would just nod our head, and drive on. From Taubate, we got on SP-125 which was a narrower road but was in great condition. The drive was more scenic with thick woods, and hills. We spotted smaller settlements and a few makeshift shops along the way. The courteousness of fellow drivers also narrowed a little bit…some folks seemed to be in a tearing hurry, and would not wait for passing lanes to overtake me.

As we approached Ubatuba, the roads got very windy, and steep. We must have dropped a 1000 ft within a few kilometers of twisty road.

We took a wrong turn into Ubatuba, and chanced upon their beach which looked great. I guess this is where the locals hang out. We struggled a little bit with the Portuguese GPS system we borrowed from Rafa’s friend, Bruno. We got back on track soon enough.

SP-101 from Ubatuba to Paraty is parallel to the coast, and made for a very scenic ride. It seemed as if the entire coastline in this region (Rio is not far from here) is lined with geographical features such as mountains, islands, lagoons, bays, beaches, etc.

We finally made it to our lodging, Croce Del Sud 2. It’s a small 3 chalet property set atop a steep hill overlooking the bay. Behind the property is thick forest. It was a nice setting.

The place was very nice inside too. You could tell it was well taken care of. The owner was an italian chap, Luca Porta, who has lived an interesting life. He gave up his IT company to sail around the world, and ended up in Paraty. He practically built the place himself, and made most of the furniture as well. We suggested he sell his wares on Etsy 3.

Uma, and I, rested for a little bit and then headed out to the town center.