Buzios – Brazil’s Most Sophisticated Beach Town
Buzios is known as the most sophisticated beach town in Brazil, the weekend escape from Rio de Janeiro or further afield, with boats taking people out on the bay or to the private islands in the distance, and excellent restaurants, bars and clubs in the town for evening. The beauty of Buzios lies in the beaches, with a great variety amongst the 25 or so of the peninsula.
The sheltered bay on the northern side protected the coastline of the old fishing villages, Armação, Ossos and Manguinhos, the three principal settlements that make up Buzios. The beaches on this side of the peninsula such as Armação, Canto and Ossos have shallow waters and calm waves, making them attractive to families and people of all ages. The short walks to the picturesque pair of Praias Azeda and Azedinha make them more suitable for a slightly more active crown, while João Fernandes and João Fernandinho are busy with holidaymakers in the summer months.
All these beaches are good for swimming in turquoise water, snorkelling amongst the coral outcrops with tropical fish, sea-turtles and even the occasional penguin or dolphin. Kayaking is also popular to take you around the headlands between the beaches. During busy weekends and holiday periods, these beaches will all be full of parasols and sun-chairs, but the cool waters are always impressively clear, and golden flakes of sand sparkle in the sunlight as the waves break gently on the shore.
The lookout tower at Ponto do Criminoso (Criminal’s Point) has wonderful views back across the peninsula, out over the Atlantic Ocean and in both coastal directions. It marks the division between the sheltered beaches of the main towns and the wilder Atlantic side, with strong surf on Praia Brava. Continuing around the peninsula takes you to many tiny beaches hidden amongst the Atlantic inlets, and an early arrival means you can spend the day almost alone there. Ferradura is another beach in a sheltered inlet, although the horseshoe shape and space for development makes it one of the more popular Buzios beaches.
The beaches that straddle the isthmus of the peninsula stretch away up the coast on either side and are perhaps the most popular beaches for water-sports. Geriba and Tucuns on the southern side attract surfers galore as well as sun-worshippers, while Manguinhos and Rasa on the northern side usually have the winds for the best kite-surfing in Buzios.
The atmosphere of Buzios is relaxed and friendly, a world away from the hectic big city, but still only 3 hours drive from Rio de Janeiro International Airport on a good day. Traffic at peak times, such as immediately after New Year’s Eve, can be very busy though, and the journey can be much longer.
Another way to extend the journey at any time of year is to take the scenic coastal route from Rio to Buzios, passing the Lakes Region of Saquarema and Arraial do Cabo. The dunes and lighthouse of Cabo Frio (‘Cape Cold’) are also worth a visit, either while passing through on the drive, or as a day trip from Buzios. The cold waters around Cabo Frio also have some of the best dive sites in the southern half of Brazil, and scuba diving operators in Buzios run regular dive trips here and around the offshore islands closer to the peninsula.
Other activities to be found include the trips around the peninsula beaches by trolley bus or beach buggy (although buggies are not allowed to drive on the sands), plus plenty of trails to secluded beaches for walking, mountain-biking and horse-riding. Every day in can finish with wonderful seafood and views to match from the best restaurants in Buzios.
Buzios is an ideal place for those who like their beach stays to be relaxing
Suitable Destination For: Those who like their beaches with great restaurants and nightlife as well as crystal waters and beautiful natural scenery.
Best Time to Visit: Buzios is a tropical beach resort, and the weather can be ideal at any time of year. The hottest months of January and February coincide with the peak holiday season for Brazil and Argentina, so these months are the busiest of the year.
Essential Sights & Activities: Rua das Pedras and the statue of Brigitte Bardot in Armação; The beaches, all of which are worth a look to find your ideal place to spend the day; Buzios from the deck of a boat sailing around the bay; Sunset from Manguinhos, Armação or Ossos in particular.