I recently spent two weeks in Buzios, Brazil. Only a 3ish hour drive from Rio de Janeiro, Buzios is an easy and enjoyable side trip if you’re planning a vacation in Rio.
Buzios is a resort town nestled into a hilly peninsula with over 20 beaches. The water is a beautiful shade of dark turquoise and green, and the beaches are sandy and often lined with jungle covered hills. It’s a popular spot for Brazilian and Argentine tourists, so if you don’t want to share the beaches with lots of people, avoid the end of December through February. The flip side to popularity is that the area has plenty of good accommodation, restaurant, and nightlife options (year round).
The snorkeling in Buzios is excellent! A couple of the bigger, open ocean facing beaches are known for water sports as well, like surfing and windsurfing (Praia de Geriba and Praia da Ferradura). Most of the beaches have at least a few people selling food and drinks and offering umbrellas and chairs to sit in for free, with the expectation that you’ll buy something to eat or drink.
Below is a little info on my favorite beaches. I tend to like the beaches further from the main boardwalk strip (Rua das Pedras) as they aren’t as crowded/touristy. Praia in Portuguese = beach.
Praia da Tartaruga
Tartaruga is a very long beach framed by hills. It gets its name from all the turtles that swim in the area, although I saw just as many turtles at other beaches (Tartaruga in Portuguese means turtle). Informal beachfront restaurants and bars dot the shoreline. It’s an easy place to roll up to totally unprepared and have everything you’d need available.
Praia da Ferradurinha
While on the smaller side, I think this may be one my favorite beaches in Buzios. It’s waters are almost totally enclosed by a cove, lined with green hills and flanked by pretty rock formations. There is good snorkeling here, andamenities that make it easy. Just like most of the popular beaches on Buzios, you don’t typically have to pay for the umbrellas or chairs, but are expected to consume and therefore pay for something.
Praia Dos Amores
We visited this tiny but beautiful beach often because it was walking distance from our airbnb. If it hadn’t been, and our airbnb host hadn’t specifically told us how to get there, I don’t know if I would have bothered, because it’s a bit complicated to get to (you must walk on a trail for a bit before finding it, and the trail head is on top of a hill in the back of a neighborhood).
But I do recommend checking it out if you make it to Buzios. It’s got beautiful views. And not many tourists take the time or effort to figure out how to get there, so even though it’s tiny, it’s not crowded.
If you end up going to Buzios and want to know how to get to Praia dos Amores, write me and I’ll tell you how. Below is the view walking up to Amores from the trail, where you can see Praia da Ferradurinha across the cove.
If you’re into hiking there is a trail that splits off of the one to Amores, heads up the hill, and carries on along the ridge with even more beautiful views…
I highlighted the trail on the map below. It takes you from Praia dos Amores to Praia da Ferradura, one of the bigger, windier beaches known for surfing.
Praia Do Forno
The best snorkeling we experienced was at Praia do Forno, which is funny because that’s not what the internet will tell you. Anyways, it was our experience. It’s a chilled out beach with less people, but still a few guys with umbrellas and chairs selling drinks but not much food.
Arraial do Cabo
Arraial do Cabo is an hour long drive away from Buzios and its own separate peninsula, but definitely worth the drive (and I do recommend renting a car to have while traveling this area…more on that below, but the drive between Rio and Buzios is an easy and pretty one). Praia do Forno on Arraial do Cabo is situated on a large cove and has some of the clearest, brightest waters in the area. Don’t confuse this with the Praia do Forno in Buzios, they are separate beaches. You must hike a short ways up a hill and down again to reach the beach. I recommend going during the first half of the day if you want sun as it faces east and is surrounded by tall hills.
Eating & Other Tips
The main boardwalk that lines the primary port in Buzios is where you’ll find the majority of restaurants and bars and is called Rua das Pedras. It’s a nice strip for an evening stroll with distant views of rolling hills and mountains and fisherman bringing in the day’s catch.
O Barco is by far my favorite restaurant in Buzios. The place is simple, unpretentious, and serves simple, fresh, and unpretentious food. They serve my favorite caipirinha in Buzios. All the fish is fresh and waiters are kind and attentive. Don’t miss the lightly breaded and fried shrimp appetizer! I always admire a restaurant that doesn’t overcook shrimp–especially fried shrimp. It’s easy to do.
Peixe no Mató is not on Rua das Pedras. Tucked back a bit into the vegetation, this restaurant has a simple menu with a few choices of fish or beef the amiable and talkative owner will grill for you. I was impressed by the size and quality of salads that came with the mains as well.
When you’ve had enough seafood, get a quality, thin-crust pizza at Pizzaria do Cris. Their pizzas are cooked in a large wood-burning oven so they get nice and crispy.
The Fish Market
Starred on the map is a fresh fish and shellfish market.
If you have your own kitchen–there are tons of lovely and affordable Airbnbs in Buzio, the feature image is me at the airbnb we stayed in–I highly recommend shopping at this fish market. We bought tons of fresh shrimp, various fish, and lobsters. Cheap and delicious.
They aren’t the same breed of lobster you’re used to eating in the United States, but they are very delicious. The picture below is actually from O Barco, but they sell the same type of lobsters in the fish market.
Right behind the fish market is a port, beach, and small strip of restaurants/bars that face west and so have a great view of the sunset.
How to Get There
From Rio, the easiest way to get to Buzios is renting a car and driving. Renting a car in Brazil is not expensive. My boyfriend and I rented a four door sedan with air conditioning that cost about $15 per day. It’s also quite useful having a car in Buzios as the peninsula and all the beaches in the area are spread out. There are buses you can take between Rio and Buzios, and public transit in Buzios, but I’m not so sure I’d rely on them. Brazil is having it’s fair share of economic problems right now (the town’s trash pick up service was on hold throughout our stay, for example, from lack of municipal funds).
To fly to Rio de Janeiro, try one of these sweet spot awards…
- with 20,000 Etihad miles on American Airlines flights from March 1 – May 31 or August 16 – November 30
- with 20,000 Alaska miles on American Airlines flights from March 1 – May 31 or August 16 – November 30
- with 45,000 Virgin Atlantic miles roundtrip on Delta flights
- in Business Class with 35,000 Asiana miles on United flights
- in Business Class with 45,000 Asiana miles on United flights
- in Business Class with 50,000 Etihad miles on American Airlines flights
- in Business Class with 50,000 Alaska miles on American Airlines flights
- in Business Class with 50,000 Singapore miles on United flights
More Info on Brazil
You guys know I love Brazil. Interested yourself? Here’s a collection of trip reports to various places I’ve visited in Brazil, as well as some by Scott.
Americans need a visa to travel in Brazil, but it’s easier now than ever as you can process it online.
Unlike some of the other places I’ve reviewed in Brazil for you all, Buzios will work for all kinds of travelers. It’s not as rough around the edges as places in the state of Bahia (although I HIGHLY recommend visiting Bahia despite the roughness). In other words, the tourist path has been beaten down for you already. Visiting Buzios is a great idea if you are already planning a trip to Rio and want a taste of more Brazilian beaches.
Have you been to Buzios? If so, please share in the comments!