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The small coastal village of Parati is a virtual museum within a tropical paradise. It is located 125 miles (78mi.) southeast of Rio and possesses one of the finest “collections” of classical 18th century Portuguese colonial buildings. In the early 1700′s Parati was a major gold shipping port. Most of the gold from the inland province of Minas Gerais was transported over the mountains to Parati and then shipped to Portugal. With the advent of the construction of a new road linking central Minas Gerais to the Atlantic coast to where now is the State of Espirito Santo, the town quickly went into decline. Today it has become a major international destination for sophisticated tourists seeking sunshine and spectacular beaches (including snorkeling and scuba) all within a classical architectural setting. Automobile traffic is forbidden inside the city in order to preserve the tranquil ambience.