By Shalina Chatlani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tourists to Rio’s capital often find themselves smitten by the world famous and beautiful beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema. Cariocas, however, know that equally extraordinary shores lie just outside the city. To experience Rio like a local, it’s worth checking out some of the state’s other mesmerizing coastlines.
Located about 200km south of Rio, Paraty is a favorite destination location for many residents of Rio with it’s rustic environment, gorgeous beaches, and interesting historic center.
While the location has several admirable attributes, there are two beaches in particular that stand out. The first is Cachadaço Beach, which is in Trindade, a small hippie village that lies about one hour outside Paraty’s historic district. Tourists to Paraty can find a bus in the city proper that will leave about every hour to go to Trindade for around R$3, where hiking trails lead to the beaches.
Cachadaço Beach is a paradise-like beach that has clear warm water with medium to heavy waves, huge rocks which come out of the water that are fun to climb, and a breathtaking scenery. On the beach there is also another trail through the jungle which leads to a large natural pool that is fun to swim in. Beach-goers also can take a boat for R$10 to get there. Even though Trindade is off the beaten path, it’s important to visit during off times, as the site is often full of people.
Another Paraty location to visit is Praia Vermelha, which is only accessible by boat, as it rests in an area that is more isolated from the city. The beach is well known for its clean and calmer waters and tranquil environment. Unlike Cachadaço Beach, Praia Vermelha is well equipped with inexpensive food vendors and bars that serve up some of the area’s traditional snacks. This beach in Paraty is probably a better site for a family, as many parts of Cachadaço can only be navigated through nature trails.
Another popular area to visit for locals is Farol Beach on Honey Isle in Arraial do Cabo. The beach, which is accessible through ferry or water taxi, is secluded, with white sand, caves, and crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling. A downside to the beach is that it lies on a natural reserve, meaning that most people can only get to it on a boat tour. Visitors are usually only allowed to stay for about an hour.
Ilha Grande is one of the more frequented sites in the Southeast part of Rio among locals and tourists. To get to Ilha Grande, visitors will have to take a bus ride to either Angra dos Reis, Mangaratiba or Conceição de Jacareí, from which they will take a boat to the island.
While it may seem like a hassle, the beaches on Ilha Grande are definitely worth the trip and great for people that want to get out of the city. The most famous beach on the island is Lopes Mendes. It is known for its gorgeous transparent blue waters and tree filled environment and is frequently on lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A hike for about two hours takes visitors to the beach from the main village, but boat ride are also available (although the last stretch always needs to be hiked, because of the waves).
Finally, Búzios is an extremely popular area of Rio especially for younger crowds. The area has over twenty beaches, is full of clubs, and boasts a number of galleries and shops. It’s also a well traveled location for surfers and snorkelers.
One of the many beaches worth visiting in Búzios is Azeda Beach, known for its surprisingly lemon-lime colored waters and easy walking distance from the town. A good time to visit the beach in in the morning or early afternoon, as it can often get crowded with “party” boats later in the day.
Each of the locations mentioned are only a three to four hour bus ride away from the city at around R$60-90 each way.