Two beach towns - more ups than downs!

Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog

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Rua das Pedras (Buzios; Brazil)

Moving swiftly on from Sao Paulo, the resort town of Buzios, located roughly a 3-hour drive east of Rio, is a little-acknowledged beachside town dubbed by those in the know as the 'St Tropez of Brazil', so let's see how that translates into the context of the everyday. It is worth pointing out that this isn't the preseve of the yacht-owning elite who flaunt their vessels in harbourside moorings, though that said, Buzios may be somewhat overpriced for the Brazilian on or under the medium wage. A scattering of commendable properties makes staying here a fairly 'spoilt for choice' situation, and the Pousada El Parador scored higly for central location, amenities, and the fact that it did not appear to be anything other than a friendly, compact set of guest rooms with a homely feel, and a couple of features (pool, jacuzzi, tour desk) which made staying here a delight.

Famous tiled steps (Rio de Janeiro; Brazil)
The main drag of Buzios town proper is known as Rua das Pedras, and the walk through restaurants, souvenir shops, guest houses, and other similar establishments is a charming episode, either by day or by night, where the town seems to come alive a little more to a jaunty overall effect. The chief day-tip from Buzios could well be the boat trip which sets off from the port at nearby Arraial do Cabo, and takes a day-tripper to two delightful beaches where sun-kissed locals and enchanted tourists appear to revel in the scope for chilling, bathing, beachcombing, snorkelling, and whatever else you could enjoy in a setting of this calibre. A stop-off at a mall in nearby Cabo Frio completed the set, and for those of you unfamiliar with Brazilian beaches others than the famous two in Rio, this is a day trip which should put Brazilian beach life further into perspective.
Part of the municipal theatre (Rio de Janeiro; Brazil)
If the idea of staying local and enjoying beach life appears more, then why not take a trip to one of the beaches in the more immediate area of the Buzios peninsula, in this beach boy's case, Playa Geriba, where boogie board rental was an ideal way of whiling away the time in a setting where surfers glide and swoop, locals get involved in all kinds of tourist-centric activities, and the less active visitors just tend to thank their lucky stars that they have indeed stumbled across an uncrowded beach zone, where scope for unwinding is hardly liked to be marred by crowds, noise, or pollution of any palpable nature. Leaving one beach town, and heading for Brazil's premiermost beach city, Rio de Janeiro, is a fair trade-off, and Rio has taken on board the task of trying to prove its status as one of the continent's biggest tourist magnets.
View from Sugarloaf mountain (Rio de Janeiro; Brazil)
There are numerous districts in which you could be based in Rio, but I wager that the bohemian district of Lapa is as good and as central as anywhere for both getting around and seeing Rio's plethora of city sights. No trip to Rio would possibly be complete without making the trek up to the 'Christ the Redeemer' statue, and the views from this vantage point known as 'Corcovado' are as spectacular as any major world city could offer. Combine this with a trip up to Sugarloaf Mountain, and you are looking at having experienced the cream of South America's views and experiences, in short enough to bring out the samba moves in any tourist's gait. Rio is also synonymous with carnival, which is one to file under the 'greatest show on earth' category, and the purpose-made sambadrome could indeed be a means of seeing the chief setting for Rio carnival at a time when it is not taking place. Buildings of note abound in Rio, so prepare to be wowed by the Municipal Theatre, Lapa Aquaduct, Maracana stadium, Escadaria Selaron (famous tiled steps), and the botanical gardens, to name but a few. Of course, any visitor to Rio would more than likely want to check out the city's beaches, and the two of most note, Copacabana, and, virtually-adjoining Ipanema, are popular areas in which tourists like to base themselves for the purpose of enjoying Rio's celebratory beach culture and all its entails. Factor in some world-class shopping options, a whole host of attactive bars and eateries, and - hey presto! - you have the makings of a city which fulfils in some realms like none other, and usual city blights aside (crime, pollution, cost of living, and hoardes of tourists), Rio became my latest pal whose reliability warmly assured me that I had established a friend for life.

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Rua das Pedras (Buzios; Brazil)
Rua das Pedras (Buzios; Brazil)
Famous tiled steps (Rio de Janeiro…
Famous tiled steps (Rio de Janeir…
Part of the municipal theatre (Rio…
Part of the municipal theatre (Ri…
View from Sugarloaf mountain (Rio …
View from Sugarloaf mountain (Rio…