Paquetá is district of Rio de Janeiro situated on an island in the middle of the Guanabara Bay. It was a very fashionable place at the beginning of the 20th century, where the Brazilian upper class would have parties and spend their weekends. However, in the 70's, Paquetá became unfashionable among the rich, and you will find that many upper class Brazilians will sneer at the idea of going there. Don't be discouraged by that: although you'll find that most visitors are low income Brazilians, it is a wonderful place to go. Most of its houses date from the beginning of the 20th century, but there are some older constructions dating from the early 1700's, all of them well preserved. Also, the whole island was beautifully landscaped, with many cozy places to rest and enjoy nature. Because of its size and the fact that it is accessible only by boat, Paquetá is one of the safest places in Rio de Janeiro, with virtually no crimes.
The island is an auto-free zone, so travel is limited to bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.
You can get to Paquetá by ferry, departing in the mornings from Praça XV, downtown Rio de Janeiro. The ferry trip takes about one hour. You can also take the speed boat, leaving from a place adjacent to the ferry.
Paquetá is a wonderful place to stroll and spend a tranquil day. The whole place was built in the early days of the 20th century, and it is marvelously preserved. No cars are allowed in the island, which makes it a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Rio. You should schedule at least half a day to spend strolling around the island, and it has wonderful places to picnic, like the Darque de Matos park.
Not many places to buy things there.
There are several inexpensive restaurants, but nothing fancy. Many restaurants offer nice views.
There are several bars along the main beaches where you can sit and drink beers. Some of them place sun umbrellas and serve snacks and beer at the beach.
Paquetá offers several B&B and hotels, many of them quite affordable.