GoNOMAD Destination Guide
Buzios, Brazil: The Perfect Place to Worship Sun and Sea
People from around the world head to Rio for its great beaches, and Cariocas or Rio residents head to Buzios, only 102 miles away, for their beach fix. Buzios is a perfect place to worship the Brazilian sun and sea.
Out into the Atlantic is a seven-mile long finger of Brazilian bliss, 23 beaches and hedonistic pleasures abound. To the mix add on authentic Brazilian villages and life.
This place, first settled by pirates and slavers, has never looked back. Year round tropical temps make the off-season period between March and June or September to November perfect. January is the busiest month. Cast your net into the vibrant world of Buzios.
At the White House
During the 2½ hour bus ride from Rio, the smattering of English, French and Italian betrays Buzios’s international appeal. That and wide-open vistas lead to a happy but crowded bus ride that costs less than the cost of a taxi from my hotel to the bus terminal in Rio.
It was obvious that I was headed to a special place. This was reinforced when I entered the Mediterranean-style pousada called Casas Brancas. It was more than I wanted to spend, but after walking out on my deck and gazing at the bay and town below, I gladly would have paid more. International tourists usually mean more bucks, but here they mean more pleasure.
I used my Holiday Inn price factor that justifies spending $85 a night. The HI at home costs the same with far less to offer. Buzios offers places at far less at buziosonline. If you have time and a few bucks go to buziosonline for rentals. With more than 100 hotels and inns you’re bound to get what you want.
Azeda Beach is totally different. It is small and calm with crystal clear water, and is perfect for snorkeling. You can get there from town by foot trail or by small taxi boats that are very inexpensive.
Baptized in Buzios
It is a religious experience that requires no denomination; it’s all about going down. A fifteen-minute theory session on diving is followed by forty minutes of instruction on boat or beach with personal instructor. About 30 minutes away is Arraial do Cabo, one of Brazil’s top dive zones. Jump into the aquarium. Here are some reputable dive tours; Casamer, Mer Azul and True Blue.
My favorite ritual while in Buzios was viewing sunsets from the pool cliffside at Casa Brancas. Nightly the sun turned the sky violently red and orange and sail boats headed into harbor. The sound of people chatting below signaled that it was time to head down to Rua des Pedras or Stone Street.
This cobblestone street is the village’s main artery, tree covered and filled with bars, restaurants, and shops. As customary in Brazil a few libations are done at sidewalk cafes -- and not just one. My favorite was Ponto’s. Just like the beaches, find one that suits your mood.
Catch of the Day
Buzios is still a fishing village at heart and that is ever so apparent at the dinner table. Fortunately money is not an issue for dining well. From hole-in-the-wall to five-star, everything is available and most with local bounty.
Two of the best low cost options are Bar dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s bar) located just across from the fish market, and in the center Buzin is another good choice. Both use the “per kilo” method: pay for what it weighs.
Grilled anchovies and snapper as well as shrimp and squid are headliners. Top of the line is Satyricon located just across from Bardot Beach and Bridgit’s bronze statue. Bridgit Bardot is said to have put the village on the map.
The Taua Reserve is great for birding with over sixty different species. Top that with three hundred species of butterflies and you could get a crick in your neck. Mix in the orchids and there is color galore!
Uniquely it is privately owned by a one-time Attorney General, Tereza Kolantia, and not publicly funded. At the time of my visit there was no fee and tours could be arranged. Tereza was thinking of adding a symbolic fee that in my eyes is totally necessary. She has made the reserve an expensive passion.
The Pau Brasil APA (Environmental Protection Area) is another example of the area’s commitment to keeping tourism and nature in balance. The stretch from Tucans Beach to Cabo Frio is the largest and most important pau-brasil (Brazilian Hardwood) reserve in the state. The local efforts to maintain nature are astounding and get kudos!
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