Boats And Bicycles: A Day Visit to Paquetá Island

Were I rich, I would not hesitate to buy a little holiday place on Paquetá Island. As a matter of fact, I found the perfect place. But, alas, I do not have the luxury of flitting between the many properties I often acquire in my imagination, when travelling. The only luxury I had, was a day visit to this sleepy island, where boats and bicycles are the main forms of transportation.


Once a place to where the rich residents of Rio de Janeiro went to escape city life, Paquetá Island, located in Guanabara Bay, these days, is one of Rio’s lesser known and visited gems. Apart from one old VW Kombi, the only other vehicles we saw included municipal garbage trucks, fire engines, and an ambulance. And as a result, it is an island saturated with peace and quiet.

Colourful boats bobbed around listlessly in the oppressive January heat, whilst the streets and beaches were near deserted, during our weekday visit.

Although the beaches are invitingly beautiful, the water is not. The water in Guanabara Bay is dirty, and although there were people swimming, it is not something I was tempted to do, as I watched oil slicks glitter on the murky water. But seeing that I am not a water baby, and walking brings far more joy to my heart, it did not distract me from Paquetá’s charms and serenity, that drapes across it like a cloak of tranquility. The wide, dusty streets are well-kept, and a stroll around the island with a circumference of about 8 km is a real joy.

If walking isn’t really your thing, you can either rent a bicycle, bring your own, or make use of the many bicycle taxis that await the arrival of each ferry. But don’t rush, as there are many hidden gems to discover if you allow your pace to slow down to that of the island’s.


  • Ferry  –  The ferry to Paquetá leaves from Praça XV. The modern, air-conditioned ferry takes only 50 minutes, while the old, non-air-conditioned one takes 70 minutes.

Ferry schedule


Although not air-conditioned, the older ferry is a good option, as one can take beautiful pictures from the open windows.

  • Although there are not many restaurants, there is enough of a choice to have a good meal. We had a lovely one at Zeca’s Restaurant. Otherwise pack a picnic, and enjoy it under a tree on one of the beaches.


Visited:  January 2017