Enchanted by Paraty, Brazil - United Hub
Employee Travel Blog

Enchanted by Paraty, Brazil

By The Hub team, June 09, 2017

Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By Employee Operations Staff Representative Frankie Pagan

I have always said that I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff, and my passion for travel has brought me to more than 62 countries. People always ask me, "What's your favorite destination?" and I always answer, "The one that I'm going to next." However, Brazil is definitely at the top of my favorites list. In fact, it is the country I return to the most.

View of the town of Paraty from the sea.

One of my favorite cities in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro, but just 4.5 hours south of the Marvelous City, as Rio is known, lies a beautiful hidden gem: Paraty - a colonial work of art, where Brazilians and tourists alike share in this beautiful city's old charm and flavor. A visit to this enchanting town will transport you back to the Portuguese colonial era.

Named after a local fish, Paraty sits on Brazil's stunning southeastern Costa Verde coast and is set amid jutting peninsulas and secluded beaches with a backdrop of steep, lush, jungle mountains plunging into an island-studded turquoise bay.

The small colonial town's center is a national historic monument with very well-preserved Portuguese colonial buildings on its pedestrian-only cobblestone streets. Cars are not allowed to enter the town.

Donkey pulls a cart along cobblestone streets in Paraty

Elegant white buildings adorned with fanciful multicolored borders and latticed windows blend harmoniously with the natural beauty that envelops this charming town. Among its architectural landmarks is the waterfront Capela de Santa Rita, a whitewashed church built in 1722. Since 1966, the Brazilian government has recognized Paraty as a National Historic Site.

The town's cosmopolitan flavor is further enhanced by the large number of artists, writers and chefs -- both Brazilian and foreign -- who have settled here and opened shops, galleries and fantastic restaurants. The food options are endless, from international to local beach eats, but be sure to try the local seafood. Bars can be hard to find, so just follow the music. They usually aren't jumping until late.

Outdoor restaurant in Paraty, Brazil.

Paraty has a wide range of accommodations. I recommend that you stay at a pousada, or country inn, near the historical center of town. We stayed at Pousada Literaria de Paraty, a small elegant pousada owned by a Brazilian actress.

The town is very walkable. The vibe is relaxed and carefree. Everyone wears Havaianas, Brazilian flip flops. The locals are warm, friendly and genuinely nice. They are very proud of their delightful town and are always happy to help tourists. Keep an eye out for the monkeys that roam the streets. They are quite amusing and may be waiting for a treat.

A very interesting and unique characteristic of the town is that it floods regularly and intentionally — I heard from the locals that it has an old street-cleaning strategy. It dates back to colonial times, when the city was planned. Since Paraty is below sea level, sidewalks are elevated about a foot above the cobblestones, and, at high tides, ocean waters flood the streets in a timeless ebb and flow. It's best to carry a pair of flip-flops to wear so that you don't ruin your shoes. Some hotels and pousadas offer flip-flops to their guests, but I recommend you by yourself a pair of Havaianas.

In the town's main square, you can watch a capoeira performance, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of fight, acrobatics, music and dance in a very magnetic way. Check with your hotel for times because it is something you won't want to miss.

For approximately $125, you can rent a boat for the day and head out into the bay to the small islands and coves nearby. Along the way, you can snorkel in the crystal-clear, emerald-green sea and swim in the many secluded beaches. Our boat stopped on one of the islands, where we had a tasty lunch of freshly caught fish, garlicky white rice and Brazilian-style bean stew. Wash it all down with Brazil's national drink, the rum-tastic caipirinha or a refreshing local beer. Then sit back, relax in a beach chair and take it all in.

Tourists swimming at one of the many secluded beaches in Paraty.

It's very easy to reach Paraty once in Brazil. From the U.S., Untied flies nonstop from multiple of our hubs to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Air-conditioned buses leave from both Rio and São Paulo for Paraty. Buses from Rio depart 12+ times a day from the Rodoviaria Novo Rio bus station. The price of one-way a ticket is approximately $25, and the trip takes about 4.5 hours. The trip from São Paulo's Rodoviaria Tiete bus station takes about 6.5 hours and costs about the same. From São Paulo, try Reunidas Paulista bus company and, from Rio de Janeiro, Costa Verde Transportes.

Useful information and tips:

Working to bring people home – repatriation flights underway

By The Hub team, April 07, 2020

When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.

We have operated more than 85 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 12,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.

Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.

Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Munich
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo-Haneda
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Melbourne, Australia

We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.

We’re making some key changes to the MileagePlus program for you

By The Hub team, April 05, 2020

Throughout these unprecedented times, we remain committed to doing what is right and fair for all of our MileagePlus® members and are pleased to share the steps we are taking to reciprocate the trust and loyalty that you have placed in United. These steps include not only Premier status updates, but also an extension of current memberships and subscriptions. The updates will happen automatically over the next few weeks — there's nothing you need to do.

The big news: If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022. At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to and including Premier 1K®.

For the 2021 status year, United is reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50% for each status level, to make reaching an even higher tier easier. You'll still need a minimum of four flight segments on United or United Express®.

2021 status

Earn Premier qualifying flights

and PQP

… or meet a higher PQP goal

Silver

6

2,000

2,500

Gold

12

4,000

5,000

Platinum

18

6,000

7,500

1K

26

9,000

12,000

We're also doubling PQP for United Explorer cards and quadrupling PQP for the United Club cards.

At the same time that we're decreasing the published program's PQP requirements, via a promotion from May 1 – December 31, 2020, we're doubling (for United Explorer cards) or quadrupling (for United Club cards) the maximum number of PQP that Cardmembers can earn from card spending during 2020 to help achieve a higher level of status than you already have. More details to come later.

1K® and Platinum members, we're increasing your ability to upgrade by extending PlusPoints expiration dates by six months and expanding Skip Waitlist.

  • This means a six-month extension of any PlusPoints set to expire on or before January 31, 2021.
  • Last year we introduced Skip Waitlist on select flights as a benefit to 1K members, giving you more opportunities to confirm an upgrade request at the time of booking. This benefit will now be available for the rest of 2020 in a significantly expanded selection of long-haul international regions and will have expanded availability in 2021 as well.

We're extending all annual membership and subscription benefits by six months.

  • We want to make sure your benefits are still there when you're ready to start flying again. That's why we're extending purchased United Club℠ memberships purchased directly from United and purchased subscriptions for Economy Plus®, United Wi-Fi℠ and checked bags by six months. You should see this reflected in your MileagePlus account soon.

All electronic travel certificates now have 24 months to be used.

  • If your travel plans have been disrupted, and you have an electronic travel certificate from us for the value of your ticket, you now have two years from the date it was issued to book a new flight, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.

We have removed some redeposit fees for the rest of the year.

  • We are currently waiving all award redeposit fees for travel through end of May 2020.
  • We are now also waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.

Finally, we'll be making it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year. We recognize that getting back to travel will occur at a different pace for different members. Keep an eye out for changes we will make to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022, as we'll share details later this year.

Over the years, you have placed your trust and loyalty in United, and we are honored to do the same for you. We are all in this together.

Status extension to January 31, 2022, applies to all members that met the published criteria of the MileagePlus program in 2019, status match associated with the United/Marriott Bonvoy partnership and status offered as part of a Sales nomination. Status granted from other programs and policies may not apply.

How to change your flight, or cancel and rebook later

By The Hub team, April 04, 2020

To help with the uncertainty around future travel — be it summer vacations, conferences, events and more — customers now have until April 30 to make changes to, or cancel, any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. This is in addition to existing waivers already in place which allow customers to change or cancel plans for travel through May 31.If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.

Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.

Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.

Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.

Change your current flight:

  1. On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
  2. Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
    • Date of travel or destination
    • Add a flight
    • Remove a flight
  3. Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
  4. Continue through booking to confirm your new flight

Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.

Cancel your flight and rebook later:

  1. On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
  2. Select "Cancel flight"
  3. Confirm flight cancellation
  4. If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.

Canceling or changing an award flight:

When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.

*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.

Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:

​Start on the United homepage: ​

User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.

  • If you're not signed in or you're a guest user, enter your confirmation number and last name.
  • If you are signed in, you can select a trip from your current trips or select the 'Find another trip' link.
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