By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Located in the “Região dos Lagos” (Lake Region), along the central coast of Rio State, the small city of Cabo Frio is a favorite among Cariocas for its water sports and affordable attractions. Only 45 minutes away from Búzios, the region’s most famous destination, Cabo Frio and its fourteen different beaches are certainly worth the visit.
Surfers will fall in love with “Dunas”, a beach situated in the center of Cabo Frio, and “Brava”, a 400 meter-long wild beach that is also a nudist area.
Tourists looking for calm waters and comfort should check the “Conchas” beach, which offers a very good structure of bars and restaurants. Situated at the neighborhood of Peró, “Conchas” is also a great spot for those who are into fishing.
At “Forte”, Cabo Frio’s main beach, there is always something going on. With an extension of 7.5 kilometers, it offers a large variety of bars – many with live music – and some handicraft sellers.
What’s more, visitors should not miss “Ilha do Japonês”, a relaxing paradise island situated only a short trip away from the mainland. To get to Ilha do Japonês, one must get a ferry from the Itajuru Canal.
Even though the beaches are Cabo Frio’s most notable landmark, the city is not only about that. For those into history and culture, the “Passagem” neighborhood is a really nice day trip. Preserving Cabo Frio’s original architecture, Passagem fascinates for its colonial houses, bistros and small shops.
Another option is to visit “Forte de São Mateus”, a fortress built in the seventeenth century, from which one can appreciate a stunning view of the Forte beach.
In Cabo Frio, foodies will find the best restaurants at the Itajuru Canal.
It gets especially busy from 7PM, when the sun goes down. One of the most popular dishes in Cabo Frio’s restaurants is the churrascos (barbecue), usually accompanied by rice, farofa, vinaigrette and chips.
At Tia Maluca restaurant, located at the canal, make sure to try the “picanha na folha de bananeira” (steak roasted inside a banana tree leaf). The best “empadinhas” (typical Brazilian salted pie) can be found at “Luiz e Trindade”, located in Cabo Frio’s downtown.
The real deal for summer clothing is situated at Rua dos Bikinis (Bikinis Street), just across the Itajuru Canal. Considered the most important area for the commerce of textile goods in “Região dos Lagos”, the Rua dos Bikinis gathers numerous stores that offer really cheap bikinis, speedos, among other products – especially in low season.
Fans of water sports will also enjoy Cabo Frio. Because of its wind, the city is perfect for sailing, windsurfing and kite-surfing, sports that can be found at the “Forte”, “Foguete” and “Peró” beaches. Skydiving is also a popular activity among tourists, who can do it at the islands “Comprida” and “Papagaio”.
To get to Cabo Frio from the city ofRio de Janeiro, take the Rio-Niterói bridge, and then the Niterói-Manilha road (BR 101). Following, turn the Rio Bonito-Araruama road (RJ 124) and take Via Lagos until São Pedro D’Aldeia. Afterwards, take RJ-140 until Cabo Frio.