Arraial do Cabo - Complete Roadmap 2020
O Brazilian Caribbean is here. Arraial do Cabo earned this affectionate nickname because of sea color, the big star of this region of Rio de Janeiro that brings together some of the best beaches in Brazil.
It is not just a shade of blue. Arraial do Cabo has crystal clear sea, of clear waters in shades of pool blue, greenish blue, light green, turquoise and even neon blue…
Has white sand, trails to walk, viewpoints with spectacular views and beaches both for those who prefer the quiet of stretching in the canga and for those who like go, surf or boat ride. It is a Brazilian destination to envy paradisiacal beaches the Caribbean. It is a place of sun and beach, not hype. But that is not why the traveler who likes excitement should give up.
Arraial do Cabo is close to two popular destinations: the charming Buzios and the busy Cabo Frio - the latter also with clear waters and white sand like talc.
Table of Contents
- 1 Beaches of Arraial do Cabo
- 2 Water Activities
- 3 Diving in Arraial do Cabo
- 4 Other activities in Arraial do Cabo
- 5 Wonderful landscapes
- 6 Surroundings of Arraial do Cabo
- 7 Curiosities of Arraial do Cabo
- 8 What to know before you go
- 9 Getting around
- 10 Itinerary Suggestion
- 11 When to go to Arrail do Cabo
- 12 Tourist Information
- 13 Accommodation in Arraial do Cabo
- 14 What to bring to Arraial
Where is Arraial do Cabo
Arraial do Cabo is about 170 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, in the Region of the Lakes, one of the most beautiful areas of the coast of Rio de Janeiro, dominated by white sand dunes, restinga vegetation, lagoons, crystalline sea and cliffs.
It is close to the chimes Cabo Frio and Buzios. The first is the main urban center in the region, with great infrastructure and also beautiful beaches with crystal clear sea and white sand.
The charming Búzios, on the other hand, has a lively nightlife and has established itself as one of the most coveted and well-known Brazilian tourist destinations abroad. It is common for some travelers to stay in Cabo Frio and take tours knock-back a Arraial do Cabo and Buzios.
Things to do in Arraial do Cabo
The great attraction of Arraial do Cabo are the 8 beaches for all traveler profiles and the paths you take - trails or boat trips - to reach each of them.
It has a beach with rough seas, a beach with calm seas, some are great for go with snorkel, others are good for walk and it also has a tiny beach, a deserted beach and a busy beach.
As the city doesn’t have great attractions, nor is it big, Arraial do Cabo it is, essentially, a destination of sea and sun.
Beaches of Arraial do Cabo
The Brazilian Caribbean nickname is justified here. At Praia do Farol, the water is crystal clear and alternates between shades of turquoise and neon blue covering the white sand. Accessible only by boat, is in an area controlled by the Brazilian Navy, on Ilha do Farol.
Limiting access is an advantage, as it makes it one of the least crowded beaches in Arraial do Cabo: the capacity of the place cannot exceed 250 people at the same time.
The tour that leads to Praia do Farol departs (like all boat trips from Arraial do Cabo) from Praia dos Anjos and the route usually also includes Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Gruta Azul and Praia do Forno.
Structure: there are no kiosks or vendors in this area. On some boat trips, the package includes non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.
Prainha do Pontal do Atalaia ou Pontal do Atalaia Beach
A staircase which gives access to Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia is famous. Steep, it shows the sea of Arraial do Cabo in its various shades of blue-green, with white sand and vegetation. Some refer to Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia as Praia do Pontal do Atalaia: it is because when the tide rises, the two prainhas, which are separated by rocks, become a single beach. They are located in Morro do Pontal do Atalaia. Great place to go diving. Take your snorkel. It is possible to get there by car, on foot by boat. By car there is a risk of getting bottled in high season. On foot you have to be from a trail for about an hour.
Structure: there are no kiosks and vendors appear or set up tents according to the movement of the day.
ATTENTION: do not confuse Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia with Prainha (which is the first beach to be seen on the urbanized shore by those arriving in Arraial do Cabo ), nor with Praia do Pontal (which is the extension of beaches that are in the city of Cabo Frio).
Accessible by boat or by a 20-minute trail from Praia dos Anjos, it has crystal clear waters and white sand good for playing kong. Good place for snorkelling and kayaking. It also has a floating restaurant that serves seafood, with emphasis on oysters and seafood. Don't you want to do the trail there and also don't want to embark on a boat trip passing the other beaches? Take a taxi boat from the pier at Praia dos Anjos, go straight and enjoy the day there.
Structure: in addition to the restaurant, Praia do Forno has kiosks, rental of chairs and tents, and also rental of kayaks.
Praia do Pontal is the extension of beaches that start in the city of Cabo Frio. Who gets to Arraial do Cabo, does not see it because its access requires you to enter a small dirt path. Extensive, good for walking and with wooded stretches, it is perhaps the least busy even on sunny weekends.
Structure: it has some fishermen's huts that sometimes sell drinks or snacks, it does not always have food carts and is not a stopping point for boats. If it is, it is worth taking your own snack.
The surfers' favorite beach has rough seas and a narrow strip of sand. It is well preserved and is almost always empty. Access is via Pontal do Atalaia, from where it can be seen, from a steep and difficult trail of about 20 minutes.
Structure: none. Take your snack and whatever else you need.
Beach with calm waters, urbanized and central, attracts a lot of visitors and has the sea as beautiful and blue as the other beaches in Arraial do Cabo. It has a busier side and a quieter side. From Prainha, a trail leads to the tiny beach cute, with only 15 meters and that disappears at high tide and that every morning receives fishermen.
Structure: has kiosks and stands for snacks and drinks, and rental of chairs, umbrellas, surfboards and kayaks. In the surroundings, the streets have parking for cars.
Another urbanized beach with kiosks by the sea. It is an open sea beach and very cold. Very long, it has waves that attract surfers. Its strip of sand, which will reach Saquarema 40 kilometers later, is modeled by dunes of fine white sand like talc and in some stretches covered by coastal vegetation. It also attracts those who like movement and sport. In the sand there is always someone playing ball, volleyball, frescobol, doing slackline ... It is a lively beach.
Structure: has kiosks, restaurants, boardwalk and beach equipment rental and parking options in the urbanized area.
You will definitely meet her not to bathe, but because it is the starting point for boat trips.
It is always busy by people going for walks or by fishermen returning from the sea to take the fish to the market. From Praia dos Anjos the trail leads to Praia do Forno.
For those who like to understand the history of the region, it is believed that it was at Praia dos Anjos that the Florentine explorer Américo Vespúcio, in charge of Portuguese ships, landed in 1503. There, the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church was built.
Structure: easy access and parking spaces in the surrounding streets.
The great attraction of Arraial do Cabo are the boat trips with a spectacular route. It is the best way to get to know the beaches and the only way to reach the paradisiacal Praia do Farol, on Ilha do Farol, in an area preserved and controlled by the Brazilian Navy. It is on boat trips that you also arrive at the Blue Grotto, a cave taken in blue, gold and silver colors because of the effects of the incidence of light on rocks and water at certain times.
There are reports of people who get to see, in addition to stingray, turtles, dolphins and even whales during boat trips.
It is possible to choose between vessels of various types for various visitor profiles. Some are smaller, simple fisherman boats and for a few people. Others can schooner offering festive or calmer experiences. Some boats offer non-alcoholic drinks and fruits or small snacks, but it depends on whether the package is included or not.
A tip is to avoid weekends and high season days if you want a more peaceful ride. But if it is not possible to avoid these busy days, it is worth reserving the place the day before.
ATTENTION: it is possible to make a direct boat trip between Praia dos Anjos-Praia do Forno or Praia dos Anjos-Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia without being a tour, but as a taxi boat.
For those who do not want to face the trail to Praia do Forno or Staircase of Prainhas this is a great option. Just go to Praia dos Anjos, take the boat and enjoy the day at one of the beaches, remembering to find out about the return.
Diving em Arraial do Cabo
There are those who call Arraial do Cabo also Diving Capital in Brazil. It is not just enthusiasm. Indeed, Arraial do Cabo it has a rich marina life in its transparent waters and is known as one of the main diving destinations in Brazil. There is an opportunity for both those who want to go snorkelling and for those who want to do scuba diving.
Free diving or SNORKELLING
You can dive on all the beaches and also further away from the coast, when taking boat trips. Even when you don't see marine animals and fish, the surface diving it will be worth the trip by the incredibly crystalline sea with the white sand guaranteeing the luminosity. It is possible to see the bottom of the water as in a swimming pool. So the big tip here is: bring your snorkelling kit (mask and fins) for Arraial do Cabo.
Scuba Diving or Scuba Diving
Em Arraial do Cabo there are several opportunities to do deep dive with cylinder - even if you've never done it. If you want to experience diving in depth, but also don't want to take a course, baptism is a good thing. Several companies offer. Many of them are on the outskirts of Praia dos Anjos, but it is easy to find out about it. The equipment is included and the experience can cost around R $ 300 per person. The diving location will depend on the sea conditions on the day and it is very common to see corals, fish, and even turtles and rays.
Praia Grande, whose strip of sand leads to Saquarema, and Praia Brava have the best waves. Praia do Pontal, which is the extension of the large strip of sand that begins in Cabo Frio, also usually has good waves.
Other activities in Arraial do Cabo
Walking seeing the sea: one of the great attractions of Arraial do Cabo. For those who enjoy trekking, there are several trails between beaches that yield wonderful views of the region. Difficulty levels vary, so it is advisable to consult with agencies, guides or to go with someone who has experience in the region's paths. There are several agencies that offer this type of tour in Arraial. The important thing is to avoid walking the trails alone because sometimes the path is irregular or it may not be properly signposted.
The most popular trail connects Praia dos Anjos to Praia do Forno. One of the most curious is the Graçainha Trail that starts at Prainha and ends at a tiny beach that only exists at low tide.
Pontal do Atalaia
It is the most famous and mesmerizing sunset place in Arraial do Cabo. It is at the same entrance that gives access to Prainhas. You can go by car and park along the road.
It is on boat trips that you also arrive at the Blue Grotto, a cave taken in blue, gold and silver colors because of the effects of the incidence of light on rocks and water at certain times.
The waters of Arraial do Cabo are frequented by whales between the months of June and October. During some boat trips, if you are lucky, you will be able to see them
Surroundings of Arraial do Cabo
As if it were not enough to be called the Brazilian Caribbean, Arraial do Cabo is close to two popular destinations: the charming and internationally famous Buzios and the busy Cabo Frio - the latter also with clear waters and white sand like talc. The best way to move between the three is by car.
Sticked on Arraial do Cabo - with whom you share the strip of sand where Praia do Pontal is located - Cabo Frio it is the largest city in the Lakes Region and the one with the most complete infrastructure. It is 10 kilometers away, has a lively nightlife in the summer, as well as several hotels and restaurants.
Its main beach is the Forte Beach, with an edge full of kiosks and buildings. The strip of sand becomes Dunas Beach, with an immense strip of white and fine sand, and continues onwards like Praia do Foguete, with rough seas, until it arrives in Arraial do Cabo like Praia do Pontal.
A Conchas Beach is located in a short calm sea cove and is very popular with families, while the long Peró Beach is a favorite of surfers.
A Rua dos Bikinis it is successful among those who like shopping. It is the place to find swimwear with the possibility to mount bikinis according to your own taste.
35 kilometers from Arraial do Cabo, Búzios is a Brazilian resort famous even abroad. It is among the most coveted beach destinations in the country.
In addition to the strips of sand, which appear every time the peninsula where Búzios is making a curve, the city has a super charming center, full of fine restaurants and inns, bars and nightclubs, as well as designer stores.
This old fishing village attracted the eyes of the world when French actress Brigitte Bardot visited the place in the 1960s and decided to stay there for a few months. There are about twenty beaches, each with its own style.
Curiosities of Arraial do Cabo
In the Lakes Region there is a phenomenon called resurgence. It is when the deep waters of the ocean, which are the coldest, are brought to the surface by sea currents.
The resurgence also drags up nutrients from the seabed along with the icy water. That’s why marine life in Arraial do Cabo it is so rich. Marine animals approach the area behind the wealth of food.
When diving, visibility is high. It is that the pale sand in contrast to the clear waters of the great luminosity to the dives.
Three beaches Arraial do Cabo they are among the best beaches in Brazil and one of them is among the most sought after beaches in the world. They were nominated by the “Travelers Choice” award, held annually by the website TripAdvisor. The choice is made by national and international tourists.
Arraial do Cabo in the ranking of the best rated beaches in Brazil
- Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia: 2nd place.
- Praia do Farol: 3rd place.
- Praia do Forno: 5th place.
Arraial do Cabo in the ranking of the best beaches in the world
- Prainhas do Pontal: 12th place.
What to know before you go
Arraial do Cabo is about 170 km from Rio de Janeiro, in the area known as the Lakes Region, where the cities of Búzios and Cabo Frio.
The best way to get to Arraial do Cabo is from the city of Rio de Janeiro by car in a trip of about 2h30 or by bus in about 3 hours.
By Bus from Rio
Buses leave from Rodoviária Novo Rio towards Arraial do Cabo and other cities in the Lakes Region.
Within the Lakes Region, the cities are served by the Salineira bus.
For those who arrive at Rio de Janeiro by plane, there are buses specially to connect both Santos Dumont Airport and International Airport (Galeão) to Rodoviária Novo Rio.
ATTENTION: on weekends, the eve of major holidays and high season, vehicle traffic to the Lakes Region is busy and there may be congestion.
Transfer from Rio
There are also transfer services between the airports of the Rio de Janeiro e Arraial do Cabo.
Airport Cabo Frio
The nearest airport is at Cabo Frio, 13 km away, and receives flights from Belo Horizonte and São Paulo. (to be checked)
The transportation that makes the best of Arraial do Cabo it is the boat with rides or taxi boats always leaving Praia dos Anjos. Therefore, a good alternative is to stay close to Praia dos Anjos.
For those who are driving, trips between the beaches will be easier than for those on foot.
If you are without a car and do not want to take boats, the visitor will have easy access to more urban beaches such as Praia dos Anjos, Praia Grande and Prainha, but to go to the others you will need to walk on trails whose levels of difficulty may vary.
To visit nearby cities, such as Cabo Frio and Búzios, the ideal is to be by car. Uber and taxi help. Viação Salineira takes the bus route in the Region of the Lakes.
ATTENTION: If you are driving, remember not to leave anything of value inside the vehicle.
1 DAY: If you are going to stay just one day, go straight to Praia do Anjos and take a boat trip to know everything at once and be happy. The tours last between 3 and 4 hours and follow a basic route: Praia do Farol, Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Gruta Azul and Praia do Forno with stops for swimming in the sea and on the beaches.
3 DAYS: Take the boat tour on the first day to get to know everything and choose your favorite beach. Take a day or two to enjoy one of the beaches quietly and take a trail. Choose a day for a diving baptism.
5 DAYS: Take the boat tour on the first day to get to know everything and choose your favorite beaches. Take two days of beaches and trails. Choose a day to go diving. Make a round trip to get to know Búzios.
1 WEEK: Take the boat tour on the first day to recognize everything and choose your favorite beach. Hire a diving baptism. Explore the beaches, the region and its trails. Treat yourself to a day doing nothing at your favorite beach. Make a round trip to get to know Búzios and its nightlife. Take a jump to Rua dos Biquínis in Cabo Frio.
When to go to Arrail do Cabo
You can visit Arraial do Cabo the whole year. But it is good to observe the characteristics of each season.
In summer, New Year, Carnival and long holidays: the city and the region can fill up. The movement on the roads to the Lakes Region is intense and the chance of traffic congestion on the roads is great. At that time it is more difficult to find accommodation, but many people stay in Cabo Frio where the offer is greater, and go to Arraial do Cabo on tour.
After the summer: from autumn, especially between April and May, everything is emptier and temperatures remain good.
In the winter: temperatures are milder and there may be instability in the climate, but nothing to prevent a good trip. Outside school holidays, some inns may offer discounts.
After winter: the city is more empty, but the temperatures remain good.
Arraial do Cabo doesn’t have a trendy urban area as it happens in Búzios and Cabo Frio. It is not a shopping destination, but the trade caters very well to those who need utilities in supermarkets and pharmacies, and stores for those who want to take crafts from the region home. If you want to shop, Cabo Frio there is the famous Rua dos Biquínis to find beach fashion, and Búzios has its designer windows and handicrafts.
The restaurants are simple but good and mostly offer fresh seafood. Usually the dishes serve two people.
Hosting em Arraial do Cabo
Staying close to Praia dos Anjos, where the boats leave from, is a good idea. Most hostels are simple. See the website www.booking.com and you will see a good offer of houses and apartments for rent. As affordable accommodation options, Arraial do Cabo has hostels like the Books Rehab Hostel, Hostel Villas Boas e Hostel Vila Praiana. But, don't forget that you will be next to Cabo Frio which has a great offer of inns and vacation apartments for rent, but it is good to note that during the pandemic there may be restrictions or requirements for entry into Arraial do Cabo how to book accommodation in the city.
What to bring to Arraial
Em Arraial do Cabo there is rental equipment for diving, but if you have your own kit with a mask, snorkel, fins and camera, you will have the opportunity to use them on boat trips and on almost all beaches.
PRICES (approximate search, not exact)
About R $ 100 per person
Between R $ 10 and R $ 15 per person + R $ 2 boarding fee
Running within the city about R $ 18
About R $ 300 per person
About R $ 60 a plate for two
BUS RIO DE JANEIRO-ARRAIAL DO CABO
About R $ 70,00
BUS CABO FRIO-ARRAIAL DO CABO
About R $ 5,00
HOSTING OUTSIDE HIGH SEASON
About R $ 70 per person in cheap hostels or inns.
From about R $ 150 to R $ 250 in intermediate accommodation in a double room.
*Pandemic (I couldn't confirm)
During the pandemic, visitors need to book accommodation at the city entrance barrier. Restaurants, bars and boat trips are working with distance and care.
Beaches and some trails are cleared with physical distance. On some beaches, private cars cannot enter.