“Life is better in flip flops” – Unknown
Armação dos Búzios, Brazil
Having crammed as much as possible into lively Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, and after an 11.5 hour flight from the UK, we recommend ending your time in Brazil with a romantic beach break. After all the early starts of city exploring and late nights of street dancing in the city of Rio, this is exactly what you will need. A friend of ours who used to live in Rio recommended Búzios for some quiet beach time and it was perfect. Here we share the easiest way to book this destination as part of your carnival package, which hotel to choose and our ‘best bits’ for this location.
Búzios is termed the St Tropez of Brazil. It is a picturesque township with a selection of hotels, water sports, and an impressive 23 beaches on offer. Despite being the playground of the rich and famous, beautiful luxury is very affordable here. Spoilt for choice, it’s best to research the areas well because the various beaches offer slightly different advantages, whether you like to be active or lazy, and whether you want to spend time above or below the water. There is also Rua das Pedras, a central area of shops and restaurants, which is easily accessible wherever you choose to be based. For us, Búzios is about snoozing in a sun lounger by day and wandering the quaint cobbled streets along the waterfront by night.
How Can You Add A Búzios Beach Break To Your Carnival Tour?
We used Tucan Travel Tailor-made to book this section of our trip in order to incorporate it within our Carnival Package. This allowed us to pay an initial deposit for the whole trip, securing the sought-after accommodation during this peak time, without needing to find all the money straight away. Going independently could be cheaper but during Carnaval and with no knowledge of the area or language, this is a great value for money option. Tucan can easily assist you with a shared transfer that collects you from your hotel in Rio and takes you to the front door of your hotel in Búzios. If budget isn’t an issue, you can choose to upgrade this to a private transfer to avoid multiple stops for other passengers. Tucan transfers are on spacious, air-conditioned coaches with storage for large luggage. You can expect higher volumes of traffic on the roads around this time so a comfortable transfer allows you to catch up on all that lost sleep and wake up in your new destination.
Which Hotel Should You Choose?
We loved Hotel and Spa Villa Rasa Marina for our post-Carnival break. Búzios is very busy at this time of year with many Brazilians on holiday but this hotel is small and intimate, and offered us the peace we were searching for. Bear in mind that in an area like this, a lot of shops and local businesses close during Carnival so this really is the time for sea, sand and doing nothing. This boutique hotel is set in beautiful grounds with whitewash buildings, wooden decking and authentic decor. The breakfasts are fresh and delicious, with home-made juices and cakes. Brazilian’s love sweet food and by far the best sweet-fix you’ll find here is the fruit! I have never tasted pineapple this succulent and flavoursome.
Service and Facilities at Villa Rasa Marina
The staff are friendly, helpful and can’t do enough for you. The rooms are modern and clean and have air-conditioning. One of our favourite spots to relax was the hammock on the room decking after an intense day of sunbathing or a day out at sea. Beach towels are provided free of charge and there is a myriad of spots for relaxing. Choose the sun loungers over-looking the beach for the sounds of the waves and to grab ice-creams off the street sellers walking the beach. Choose the sun-loungers around the main pool next to the restaurant for easy drink and lunch service and local birds chirping in the trees. Or for complete isolation, choose the second pool across the road for peace and quiet and a little privacy. This hotel also boasts an impressive spa list, a sauna and a steam room, and a jacuzzi.
If you are planning a trip soon, check out your accommodation options in Búzios.
The ‘Best Bits’ of Búzios
Búzios offers some excellent water sports. Why not try scuba-diving at these picturesque shallow depths, especially with an abundance of beautiful coves to learn in. You will be guaranteed to see large turtles in their natural habitat, alongside a variety of colourful reef fish and corals, and stingrays too. Choose P&P Escola for experienced dive masters and world-respected standards. If you are an adrenalin junky, the waves around Búzios make for excellent kite-surfing too. Or if you can simply pass hours laying in the sun, stay on dry land where ample beaches offer great sunbathing, eating and drinking.
You may also like Spirit and Surf.
You must not miss getting a taxi to Rua das Pedras at least one evening. Shops stay open late and many enticing restaurants offer mouth-watering menus. We can highly recommend Bar do Zé, where you should choose a table outside on the pavement, just across from the sea, and watch the world go by. The seafood is fresh and expertly cooked, and the cocktail list is exciting and lethal. Caipirinhas are a Brazilian favourite and taste amazing after a day in the hot sun. Skip desert in order to walk around the many shops and markets, and instead buy churros to eat whilst you walk. You will find a Havaianas store on almost every corner, where the selection of this world-renowned casual footwear is inspiring. Even if you’ve never considered owning a pair, you will find it hard to resist the temptation to buy some here!
Is There Anything Else You Should Know?
This destination is roughly a 3 hour drive from the capital and a 3 night stay in Búzios is enough to unwind and relax before returning home. If you can afford to be away for longer, there are many other areas around Rio well worth exploring. Another highly recommended coastal retreat is Angra dos Reis for more beach time away from the crowds of Rio. Alternatively, visit the Amazon and get up close to some of natures most wonderful animals. Or if you can quit your job and really explore, book more trips around South America and take in as much of this wonderful continent as you can in one go.
After our post-party beach break, we reluctantly packed up our stuff and headed back to Rio airport. We had an amazing experience in Brazil and were sorry we couldn’t stay longer. Fresh local food, happy-go-lucky people and live music everywhere … what’s not to love? You will never visit anywhere quite like this country and if it’s your first trip to South America, you will fall in love with the idea of exploring more of this naturally beautiful continent. We’ve got a number of other South American countries still on the list, but I am so grateful to have finally experienced a small part of this particular one. Obrigado Brasil. Eu te amo!
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If now you need more, check out my other South America Travel Diaries.