In desperate need of an escape from all the dudes in Rio after the World Cup, a few friends and I headed east to the peninsula paradise they call Buzios.
Just a three hour bus ride from Rio, it’s the perfect getaway for Cariocas seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Thanks to a well-publicized visit by Brigitte Bardot back in the early ’60s, Buzios has gone from a simple fishing village to a well-traveled vacation destination for weekend warriors like us.
We painted our faces with SPF-30 and stormed the sand like Normandy in search of fun in the sun.
With only a few days in town, here’s a step-by-step account on how we made the most of our time in Buzios. Follow this and I guarantee a swift victory over monotony.
STEP 1: Travel in Style
The easiest way is to take a bus from Rio de Janeiro’s bus terminal (Rodoviaria). They run everyday, almost hourly, and it costs around R$46 ($21USD). You can also rent a car, but with the gas and fees, it wasn’t worth it for us.
If you’re not going from Rio de Janeiro to Buzios, check out this all-inclusive “How to get to Buzios” resource for help.
STEP 2: Find a Home Base
We stayed at the El Misti Hostel where we got a private, 4-person room with in-suite bathroom for R$30 ($14USD) each. It was clean, comfortable and a short walk from downtown Buzios.
There are tons of hostels, hotels and pousadas in Buzios, so shop around for what works best for you.
STEP 3: Pop the Top
Rent a dune buggy. It’ll cost you around R$100 ($45USD) for the day and that includes the respect in the streets when you’re cruising around with the top down.
Side Note: All men should know how to drive a stick-shift. If you don’t now is the time to learn. If you don’t do it for the ladies (look how happy they are), do it for Paul Walker.
STEP 4: Never Settle
With almost two dozen beaches around the peninsula, you should swim around before you get married. For example, are you more of the quiet sunbathing type who likes a little intimacy? If so, Praia Azeda is for you (above).
Or, would you like more action and activities with your seaside experience? If so, Praia de Geriba is your answer (below).
With the buggy, we went to six different beaches over the course of 24 hours, all within a few miles of each other.
STEp 5: Identify the Bar
At all times, you should know where the closest bar, cart or guy with a cooler on the beach is. It won’t always be obvious who’s slinging the adult drinks, but stay focused and they will appear. Sometimes in the form of old fishing boats!
Remember, you’re on vacation and it’s up to you to prove it.
Step 6: Enjoy the Sunset
We were told that the best place to watch the sunset was at the pier on Manguinhos beach. When we arrived however, the scenery wasn’t particularly attractive after everything we’d seen. The beach and surrounding area looked like it was used mostly by fisherman.
That all changed when mother nature turned the lights down. We found a spot at the end of the pier and enjoyed the show. The fishing boats added the perfect contrast in the water and the colors could fill up a crayon box. Well played Manguinhos, well played.
Step 7: Stay up Late
Start with Porto da Barra in Manguinhos right after the sunset (above) with a nice view and a sweet setup.
From there, head back to downtown Buzios’ main street, Rua das Pedras, to cruise the streets and enjoy the many bars and restaurants.
If you’re up for it, I’m told that Pacha Nightclub is as legit as it gets when it comes to mega parties in Buzios.
However, I opted for a nice whiskey, two ice cubes, good friends and a solid waterfront view to finish the evening.
This is how I Buzios. Any questions?
Above is a map of the peninsula of Buzios. All the yellow highlighted areas are beaches.
*El Misti Hostel photo was taken from El Misti’s website, I didn’t actually climb a tree and take that.