Armação dos Búzios: The Perfect Mini-break Escape from Rio de Janeiro
A three hour bus ride North of Rio, Armação dos Búzios is a hub of Brazilian life stretching its peninsula limb out from the coastline and into the Atlantic, pocked by twenty-three coves and bays. Cartographically associated with its father city in the State of Rio, it is simultaneously a world apart from the vibrant chaos: and yet the apple does not fall too far from the tree (105 miles, to be precise). Despite being expensively labelled the ‘Saint Tropez of Brazil’, Búzios has a character quite unlike France’s South coast, or even its Brazilian neighbour, Capo Frio.
Energetically charged with colour and vibrancy, even this small coastal town hosts a buzz of life that echoes that of Rio. For residents, holiday home owners and tourists alike, Búzios transforms seamlessly from day to night. Through the winter season, not to mention what the summer must boast, vitality pulses through restaurants, bars, cafés and shops, the night swinging by as live Samba competes with the humming hubbub of people.
For now, the focus is on the local cuisine and a Caipirinha in hand, to set the tone of the evening; but within hours the surfers will be enjoying a refreshing Agua de Coco (Coconut Water) with the morning tides at Praia de Geribá. Whatever your style and energy levels, there is a contagious intent that characterises life in Armação dos Búzios to absorb as much of the vitality, energy, colour, vibrancy, and tranquillity Brazil boasts, as possible.
Top 5 Things to Do in Armação dos Búzios
1) Grab your boards
The world over, surfing is a ‘must’ to complete the coastal lifestyle of both holiday maker or local: and Búzios is no exception. Take a lesson from a Brazilian surf expert in one of Búzios’ stunning peninsula coves: the locals favour Praia de Geribá. After the morning tides, you can be reenergised with your own Agua de Coco straight from the coconut shell, from one of the beach hut cafes.
2) Bridgette Bardot
Take a stroll along the promenade of Búzios for your obligatory snap with Bridgette Bardot; the French actress and renowned star visited the town in the 1960s and gave Buzios the Brazilian stamp of approval, recognised by the town in a statue on the waterfront.
3) Hire a buggy
A hybrid of an open top Jeep reminiscent of those that traverse California’s Pacific Highway and an oversized golf buggy, constructed from a VW beetle, 'Fusca', (an echo of Brazil’s motor trade), the buggy is the epitome of Búzios life. Hop in with your fellow holiday-ers and jump from cove to cove across the peninsula.
4) Turtle watch
Before the sun dips below the horizon casting a hypnotic spell of red sky across silhouetted mountains, head to Praia da Tartaruga, for it is not only the sunset that will hold you in rapture here, for this is Turtle Beach, and if you are lucky, you may catch your own glimpse of a ‘turn of turtles’.
5) Music to my ears
As the day draws to night, how better to spend it that with a drink in hand and a welcome soundtrack to set the tone for your evening? Choose from the House of Rock bar, where you can hear you favourite hits - with a hint of a Brazilian twang - or a live Samba band: just a taste of what Búzios’ musical character has on offer. You will be spoilt for choice as you chase the night away.
By Pippa Holman