In the 18th century, Paraty was the chief port for shipping gold from Minas Gerais to Portugal. Its stunning village center, a fine example of preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, seems to have stopped in time. The pedestrian-only zone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; its winding cobblestone streets are lined with galleries where local artists sell their handicrafts. Like Rio, 100 miles to the northwest, rainforest-covered mountains frame Paraty and turquoise waters. Both environments provide recreational opportunities: Hikes along the old gold trail, treks to rainforest waterfalls, schooner trips to some of the 60 some islands that dot the bay, or relaxation in a secluded beach cove. The historical center is filled with wonderful restaurants and bars with live music in the evenings.