Destination: Arraial do Cabo

December 12, 2007 | By More

Arraial do CaboArraial do CaboArraial do Cabopraia do Forno, Arraial do Cabo
Prainha, Arraial do Cabopraia do Forno, Arraial do Cabopraia do Forno, Arraial do CaboPraia Grande, Arraial do Cabo

Arraial do Cabo is, along with Búzios and Cabo Frio, the beach trilogy of the região dos Lagos. Three different beach settings in a smallish region of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Arraial do Cabo provokes mixed feelings. On the one hand, it has some of the most beautiful beaches of the entire Brazil, with water so transparent it makes you think you have been transported to Fernando de Noronha; on the other hand, the unstoppable degradation of the city and its environment are stark reminders of the fact that Arraial is, by no means, another Fernando de Noronha.

WE LIKE THE MOST: the incredibly greenish blue colour of the sea.

the out-of-control expansion of the city has ended up with all the charm the place had; the industrial aspect of the harbour; litter everywhere, even at the beaches; chaotic traffic.

HOW TO GET THERE: from Rio, by car or by bus (with the company 1001). There are several buses per day and the trip lasts a bit over three hours. Nearby Cabo Frio international airport will soon receive flights from Argentina and Chile.

the icy temperature of the sea, especially on the beaches that face the Atlantic. When I say icy, I’m not exaggerating. Sheltered beaches like Forno make for a more comfortable bathing experience.

FAVOURITE PLACES: the pontal do Atalaia, and the Grande and Forno beaches.


  • as the rest of the region, Arraial do Cabo is best avoided during the high season.
  • prices, both for accommodation and food, are cheaper than in Búzios.
  • if you intend to find lodging at the Pontal do Atalaia you will need a car; if you get to Arraial do Cabo by bus your best choice is to stay near the harbour.
  • the boat trip leaving from the harbour takes you to wonderful and unspoiled beaches. But be careful, if the sea is rough you are strongly advised to leave the trip for another day. Trips leave in the morning, and during the high season in the afternoon too.
  • the path to the beautiful Forno beach begins right by the entrance to the harbour; it’s a 20 minute walk before you reach the beach; if you prefer, you can go there by boat (you will pay R$5 per persona).
  • from Arraial do Cabo you can visit nearby Cabo Frio; Búzios is a bit further away but it would be the perfect continuation for your trip.
  • the Grande beach, on the side of Arraial facing the Atlantic Ocean, it’s not good for swimming, as the waves there are quite strong. But the whiter than white sands are mesmerizing, and you can have a really good time sitting at a bar, drinking a caipirinha and watching the surfers riding the waves.

ACCOMMODATION: full listing of hotels and pousadas in Arraial do Cabo.

LINKS: Arraial do, Arraial do

WEATHER FORECAST: The weather in Arraial do Cabo for the next 10 days

GOOGLE MAPS: Arraial do Cabo

PHOTO ALBUM: Arraial do Cabo

[Don’t forget to check out the list of other destinations already covered in this blog, here]

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Category: Destination: Rio

Comments (3)

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  1. Shawn says:

    Hi Tony,

    Do you know of any bus lines going from Arraial do Cabo up to Buzios? the 1001 website tells me the route isnt offered.


  2. Tony says:

    Shawn, local company Salineira runs a handful of direct buses per day from Arraial do Cabo to Búzios. If the schedules don’t suit you, the same company has much more frequent Arraial – Cabo Frio and Cabo Frio – Buzios services. Getting from Arraial to Buzios is not difficult at all.

  3. Tony says:

    If you have any questions about Arraial do Cabo you can ask at our Facebook page and we will give you an answer as soon as we can.