Excursions from Rio
Região dos Lagos
Up the coast from Rio, spread out along a stretch of the coast sandwiched between the sea and a series of lagoons, are the beach resorts of Búzios, Cabo Frio, Arraial do Cabo, and Saquarema.
Búzios is easily the most upscale of these, having been discovered by Brigitte Bardot and the jet set as early as the sixties. Although considered by some a touch too much on the chi-chi side, with prices to match, the sheer beauty of the place is undeniable. Claiming no less than seventeen beaches, Búzios is a fine place to while away a few idle days in the sun. Best during the week or the shoulder season, as the high season can be maddeningly crowded.
About an hour or so away are the slightly more downmarket towns of Cabo Frio and Arraial do Cabo. Cabo Frio itself is not remarkable. It is however, party central for throngs of cariocas and mineiros who brave the weekend traffic in search of its fine beaches. If festa is your first priority, consider Cabo Frio. Don’t expect high class.
Just down the road is the smaller and more relaxed town of Arraial do Cabo, featuring a lower-key atmosphere and more of the same beautiful beach scenery characteristic of the Regi?o dos Lagos in general. For diving fanatics, be advised that Arraial do Cabo is known as one of the best dive spots in Brazil. A current sweeps up to this part of the country from the Malvinas, creating a resurgence that brings in a vast amount of marine life, particularly large species. The price for this is the coldest water in Brazil, so be prepared to use a wetsuit.