Arraial do Cabo, is a small town with a population around 25.000, here you have beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters and some of the best diving in Brazil. Both accommodation and eating out is pretty affordable which makes it a good option for people travelling on a budget. So far not so many Gringos has found their over here, a fact that may change pretty soon.
Just catch a bus from the bus station in Rio. The journey to Arraial do Cabo is about 3 hours, buses leave from 5 AM until quite late. Go to 1001, to find out when. If you want to have information about where you can buy your bus tickets in advance which is highly recommendable Fridays, holidays and Dec-Feb, just go to Buses From Rio and you will find all the info you need. Go to Getting To and From The Bus Station in Rio to find out about that. A good option is to rent a car, this you can easily do in Cabo Frio or in Rio. If you want more info on this go to Rio De Janeiro Car Rental – the great advantage is how it gives you access to a lot more beaches and interesting destinations in the region.
Arraial do Cabo have plenty of accommodation options, I do recommend that you reserve before you get there so you know where to go. No one will approach you at the bus station with offers and the good places are pretty far away.
The Beaches in Arraial do Cabo
There are some really nice beaches here:
– Praia Grande The biggest and in my view the most beautiful, the strip of sand stretches for 23 km! It has crystal clear, cold water, you can go in but it may hurt a bit! For a big part of the year you have surfable waves here.
– Prainha Located right in the beginning of Arraial, is the most crowded. Clear, calm and warm waters make it perfect for families. You have banana boats and music here on weekends.
– Praia do Forno Located a short hike from the port. Waters are warm and clear, good for snorkling. Since the strip of sand is narrow it quickly fills up over weekends and holidays.
– Prainhas da Pontal Only reachable by car or by boat. it is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Crystal clear warm water, baking powder fine sand and beautiful and calm environment.
– Praia do Farol Located on an island. Is inside a natural reserve, included as a stop on the boat trips I have described below.
They say Arraial do Cabo has the best diving in the state. Actually dive legend J Y Costeau once rated it as top three in Brazil. It is the clear waters full of marine life that is the main reason, you also have plenty of wrecks and some caves. There are quite a few dive shops in town, read more about this on my Scuba Diving in Rio Page.
Nice and affordable, during 3 to 4 hours you visit some of the fantastic beaches I have described above. You also go to a big cave with intensive blue water, really cool. Most of these stop at a floating restaurant where you can have good seafood. The boat trips leave everyday from the port close to Praia dos Anjos, a good time to be there is between 10 and 11 in the morning.
Nightlife and Restaurants
Even though Arraial do Cabo hasn’t that much to offer in this aspect it exists. At the square Praça Daniel Barreto (also known as Praça da Cova) close to Praia dos Anjos you have the biggest concentration. If this isn’t enough I recommend a bus to Cabo Frio where you have a lot more options. A cab back wouldn’t cost a fortune.