Arraial do Cabo is located east of Rio, along the coast. It's a small town with a population of around 30,000. Surrounded by unreal turquoise blue sea beaches, it could be a great little bonus stop off on the way to the more famous town of Búzios further up the coast.
There are beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters and it's host to some of the best diving in Brazil. Both accommodation and eating out are pretty affordable which makes it a good option for people travelling on a budget. It's still pretty much off the beaten track so if you're looking for something different, try here!
It was founded in 1503 by the conqueror Amerigo Vespucci. In 1960 a documentary film was made directed by Mário Carneiro and Paulo Cesar Saraceni about the local fishing industry.
There are great, quiet beaches in Arraial do Cabo, we give you some of our best ones below
The biggest and possibly most beautiful, the strip of sand stretches along the coast for all of 23km. With crystal clear water that's definitely on the cold side, you'll soon be woken up! Most of the year the waves are great to surf here.
Located at the beginning of Arraial, it's normally the most crowded beach. Clear, calm and warm waters make it a family favourite. You can usually find live music being played here on the weekends.
Waters are warm and clear which makes it great for snorkeling. The strip of sand is quite narrow so quickly fills up over weekends and holidays. You'll find it a short hike away from the port.
Only reachable by car or boat, it is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Crystal clear warm water, beautiful fine sand and a relaxed vibe make this a great day out at the beach.
Situated on an island which is a nature reserve, this stop is included on most of the boat trips.
You can get a bus from the main bus station in Rio. The journey to Arraial do Cabo is about 3 hours, buses leave from 5 AM until reasonably late. The company 1001 runs frequent buses there. At busy times, such as Fridays, holidays and Christmas / Carnaval etc, we recommend to book in advance by using the site Busca Ônibus. You could also rent a car, the journey is quite straight forward - check out google maps.
Arraial do Cabo has some of the best diving in Rio. It's even been rated as being in the top three dive sites in Brazil. The clear waters are full of marine life and there are plenty of wrecks and some caves to explore. You'll find various dive shops in town to get started.
For a reasonable price, on a trip lasting 3 to 4 hours you will visit some of the fantastic beaches in Arraial to Cabo. You also visit "Gruta Azul" - the Blue Cave seen in our image gallery, which has dark, intense blue water. Most of the boat trips stop at a floating restaurant where you can have some good seafood. The boat trips leave everyday from the port close to Praia dos Anjos, you can organise them the day before or arrive on the day around 10 and 11 in the morning.
Arraial do Cabo isn't exactly known for it's nightlife and restuarant scene but you can find a little. At the Praça Daniel Barreto square - close to Praia dos Anjos you'll find the liveliest area (although not much). If you're looking for more, take a bus to nearby Cabo Frio where you will find a lot more options. A taxi back shouldn't cost too much - but find out before.