With the sticky heat and crowds of tourists starting to overwhelm New York City, there is no better time to take a much-needed vacation: just ask resident New Yorker Shannon Fasanella.

Shannon, who is a 24 year-old academic coordinator for Democracy Prep charter schools, is a seasoned traveler but is feeling that current travel itineraries are missing a certain vibrancy and energy. “When I visit an another country, I want to see and feel everything about it– the people, the history, the land, everything. I also want to relax and enjoy my time. I just feel that there are few places that manage to capture all of that in one trip.” Fortunately for Shannon, Brazil boasts some of the most culturally diverse cities and towns that will send her packing immediately.

Located among secluded beaches and lush, jungle mountains, Paraty is one of Brazil’s most appealing travel destinations. The town has remarkably well-preserved, centuries-old colonial architecture that is certain to appeal to travelers that want to experience a bit of history. Paraty’s town center is also noticeably car-free – the cobbled streets are closed to automobile traffic, making this a wonderful town to walk about and soak up the local sights.After a delightful stroll, make sure to head over to one of a dozen pristine beaches that can be accessed by boat or bus, all within a couple of hours of Paraty.

After a delightful stroll, make sure to head over to one of a dozen pristine beaches that can be accessed by boat or bus, all within a couple of hours of Paraty. For travelers like Shannon, enjoy an adventurous half-day trip cruising and snorkeling in the gorgeous emerald green waters of Paraty Bay. Ilha Comprida, known locally as ‘nature’s aquarium,’ is just one snorkel site that is a must-see.

Paraty is crowded and lively during the summer travel season, but it is not a wild party town. The nightlife is more laidback, so visitors that enjoy live music, ice-cold caipirinhas, and conversations with locals and other out-of-towners will find Paraty’s many bars and restaurants to be the perfect ending to the day. If you are looking for a tropical getaway rich in land and culture, make sure to add Paraty on your list!