The beaches of Arraial do Cabo, 140 km from Rio de Janeiro, can absolutely compete with beaches of the Caribbean Islands, Southeast Asia or any place in the world that has beaches with crystalline water and white sand. Is the water cold? Yes! But on the other hand, it’s practically sunny all year round. And to complete the perfection of this place, the sun sets along the ocean.
Besides the beautiful beaches, Arraial has an Atlantic Forest National Park and offers numerous options of trails. If I still haven’t convinced you to get to know this paradise, just wait for my last argument: Arraial is a whale and dolphin route, which can be easily seen from the beaches. Convinced? Then let’s get to the tips to plan your trip.
When to go
As I said, Arraial has good weather practically all year round. But, especially in winter months from May to September, there is less rain. The temperature is pleasant and the people say that the water is less cold during this period, which is considered low season.
The high season is during summer months, December to February, which are the rainiest months.
We traveled there in mid-June, which is considered low season and was wonderful as the beaches were almost deserted, we had sunny days, although it was cloudy in the early morning and at night.
As the temperature in Arraial do Cabo vary between 18 and 29°C it is recommended to carry a cardigan for the evenings.
How to get there
Arraial is about 2h 20 driving from Rio de Janeiro and can be easily reached by car or bus. We rent a car in advance by RentalCars.com (search the best prices from the leading car rental companies, which belongs to the same group as Booking.com). We got the car at Galeão airport and headed straight to Arraial.
For those who drive by car, you have to include the costs for the toll routes. There are two toll roads along the way in one direction: one at the bridge between Rio and Niterói and another one at Via Lagos. Another important detail: the toll charge is more expensive on weekends.
However, for us it was worth renting the car, because we got a good price by booking in advance. Moreover, it made everything a lot easier as we arrived in Rio late in the afternoon and wanted to get to Arraial the same day.
But it is totally possible to get to know Arraial without a car as well. For those who choose to go by bus you can go with the company Auto-Viação 1001 . Buses depart from Rodoviária Novo Rio (Main Bus Terminal) various times a day. The trip takes between 3h05 and 3h40 by bus.
Where to stay
Arraial do Cabo has a good infrastructure for tourism, offering numerous lodging options. The central beaches, where you can do everything on foot, are Praia dos Anjos and Praia Grande.
We stayed at Praia dos Anjos in Pousada do Capitão, which offers good value for the money, with a good location, rooms decorated with a rustic or a beach style, well equipped with air conditioning, a minibar and a tv. The hotel has a swimming pool, sauna and the daily rate includes breakfast with a very large choice. The staff is very helpful and helped us organize our itinerary and to book the boat trip.
From the Pousada, we went on foot to practically all the places we visited in Arraial, except for Pontal do Atalaia, because it is located on a hill and we preferred not to go hiking, but it would be possible.
Written in Portuguese by Karla Larissa
Translation by Juliane Boll