10 Reasons to Visit Arraial do Cabo, Brazil’s Caribbean
Arraial do Cabo is a small town in Brazil that has been named one of the most beautiful places on Earth. With breathtaking views and some of the best beaches in all of Rio de Janeiro, It’s also known as “The Brazilian Caribbean,” and it offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters.
If you are looking for a vacation with an authentic feel, then Arraial do Cabo might just be the place to go.
The Brazilian coast is known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and delicious food and for the past hundred years this tiny fishing village has been attracting tourists from all over the world and it is not hard to see why so many people come here year after year because it is one of Brazil’s best-kept secrets.
In this post, you will find 10 reasons to visit Arraial do Cabo on your next trip to Brazil.
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10 Reasons to visit Arraial do Cabo
Here are the main reasons to visit this piece of paradise.
1) It’s just a few hours from Rio de Janeiro
Arraial do Cabo is located only a few hours from Rio de Janeiro, making it a perfect city break for the weekend.
From Rio, it is possible to take a bus straight to Arraial for around 50 reais.
2) It is the diving capital of Brazil
Few places in Brazil are more known for their diving than Arraial do Cabo.
The clear and warm water is perfect for diving, and there are plenty of dive centers that offer diving certification courses – this is where I took my SSI Open Water Certification!
Another thing that makes Arraial do Cabo so good for diving is the abundance of marine life in the area. It is not rare to spot sea turtles, seahorses, and all sorts of colorful fish.
If you decide to dive in Arraial do Cabo, come prepared and remember that the water there is super cold!
3) It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country
The beaches in Arraial do Cabo are stunning and have been voted some of the most beautiful in Brazil for several years – just like the ones in Fernando de Noronha!
The sea is calm and turquoise, and the sand is so white it almost seems digitally enhanced.
Some of the beaches in Arraial that you absolutely cannot miss are Praia Grande, Pontal do Atalaia, and Praia do Forno.
4) The locals are incredibly friendly
Something that really surprised me about Arraial do Cabo is how friendly everyone is.
From the hotel reception to the local bakery and even random people I met along the way, every single one of the people I ran into greeted me with a smile and was super sweet.
5) It is a great trip from Cabo Frio or Búzios
Since the city in Arraial do Cabo doesn’t have that much infrastructure, it is common to stay in Cabo Frio or Buzios and just visit Arraial for the day.
Cabo Frio is only half an hour away and has beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants, and bars that are perfect for getting lunch or enjoying a few drinks while watching the sunset.
Búzios is great because it packs all the charm of Arraial do Cabo in one small peninsula with several amazing beaches, delicious food, and plenty of things to do.
6) It is unspoilt, remote and charming
The truth is that the city of Arraial doesn’t really feel – or look – like a touristic one. It isn’t charming or has many cute restaurants, but that is what gives it part of its appeal.
It is a simple place to relax and enjoy the beaches without too much luxury.
The city of Arraial do Cabo might not be the most modern one in Brazil, but that is what makes it so charming and special.
7) Gorgeous sunsets
If there is something that Brazil does really well, it is sunsets!
Sunsets in Arraial do Cabo are absolutely gorgeous, and the horizon turns from pink to red as the sun goes down. The best thing about them is that they happen every day, so if you stay a few days, you will for sure have a chance to see an iconic one.
8) The boat trips are so much fun!
Going on a boat ride is a must in Arraial do Cabo.
The boats are open and windy, so you can feel the sea breeze on your skin as you see dolphins swim by.
We went out for sunset, but it is definitely worth doing in the morning to spot all the marine life around Arraial do Cabo.
9) Pontal do Atalaia
Pontal do Atalaia is a region of Arraial do Cabo with two of the best beaches in the area.
To reach the beaches, there is now a 250 step staircase with a lovely view of the beach and has become quite a popular Instagram spot for pictures.
10) It is considered Brazil’s answer to the Caribbean
Due to the turquoise color of the water, the white sand, and the tropical climate, Arraial do Cabo RJ is considered Brazil’s Caribbean and is really worth visiting.
Image: A Coroa Hostel
Where to stay in Arraial do Cabo
Personally, I would recommend staying in Cabo Frio or Búzios instead of Arraial because those cities have a lot more infrastructure, nightlife, and restaurants than Arraial.
Still, if you wish to stay in Arraial anyways, that is totally fine! Here are some great hotels and inns to choose from.
Budget: I stayed at Hostel A Coroa, and my stay was lovely! The hostel is clean, comfy, and I met many cool travelers from around the world while I was there.
Mid-range: Pousada Canto da Baleia – Great price for a bit of luxury. The inn is super lovely, and the view from the rooms is beautiful.
Luxury: Pousada Vista Turquesa – This stunning beachfront inn is definitely one of the best places to stay in Arraial do Cabo.
It is a great choice if you are looking for a bit of luxury, as it has an infinity pool with a panoramic view and close access to the beaches in Pontal do Atalaia, which are perfect for swimming or just laying down on the sand.
Things to do in Arraial do Cabo
Now that you have read all my reasons to visit this lovely destination, you might be wondering: Okay, but what is there to do in Arraial do Cabo?
Well, there are plenty of things to do – here you go!
Go on a boat trip
If you ever visit Arraial do Cabo, I would recommend taking at least one boat trip. Not only might you see dolphins and tropical fish, but the boats also take their guests to Pontal do Atalaia, which is a gorgeous area of the city with two amazing beaches.
Scuba dive or snorkel
Another great activity to do is scuba diving or snorkeling.
The waters are crystal clear, and you will be able to see plenty of tropical fish, sea turtles, seahorses, etc. It’s the perfect way to discover Arraial, which, as I previously mentioned, is considered the diving capital of Brazil.
Go on a hike
If you are staying in Arraial do Cabo for a few days, I highly recommend going for an adventure and climbing up Pedra da Tartaruga.
Pedra da Tartaruga is the highest peak in Arraial, so it has beautiful views of the whole city.
See the sunset at Praia Grande
Sunset at Praia Grande is truly a unique experience.
The sky turns pink, orange, red, blue…you name it! It’s beautiful and definitely worth seeing in person.
Visit the beaches in Pontal do Atalaia
Pontal do Atalaia is known for its gorgeous beaches, which are great for swimming, lying down to sunbathe, or simply having a fun day out with friends.
Go on a daytrip to Cabo Frio
Cabo Frio is located only 13 minutes away from Arraial and is a great day trip!
The city has many great restaurants, a charming historical neighborhood called Passagem, and many other fun things.
Búzios is a gorgeous city located 45 minutes away from Arraial do Cabo.
There are many things to do in Búzios – you can go on boat trips, visit the beaches, enjoy local restaurants and attractions…the list of activities goes on!
Eat at Praça do Cova
Image: Churros at Praça do Cova
Praça do Cova is where most of the restaurants in Arraial are located. Also, each night the square hosts a small market with tons of food trucks.
Visit Praia do Forno
Praia do Forno is another stunning beach in Arraial. It is necessary to do a little hiking to get there, but nothing too hard – I am not a hiker myself, and it was easy!
Eat poke at Astral Beach Food
I am a huge poke fan and was more than excited to find Astral Beach Food, a small and adorable restaurant with fantastic food. I highly recommend trying it!
Take pictures at Deck dos Pescadores
Deck dos Pescadores – Fishermen’s Deck – was my absolute favorite place to take pictures in Arraial do Cabo.
As a solo traveler, I loved that they had a local photographer there (@day_fotografia), and I had a lot of fun shooting some pictures with them.
Go on a buggy ride
Going on a buggy ride across Arraial is another fun activity.
The driver makes stops in many of Arraial’s most popular points, making this a great way to see all that Arraial has to offer in just one day.
Last but not least, my favorite reason of all to visit Arraial do Cabo is the people. They are so lovely and welcoming – so beautiful inside and out. I had a fantastic time in Arraial do Cabo, and I am sure you will too.
Arraial do Cabo Travel Guide
Next, I have gathered some of the best and most essential tips you need to know before visiting Arraial do Cabo.
Is Arraial do Cabo safe?
Due to its proximity to Rio, this is a common question about Arraial.
But yes, Arraial do Cabo is perfectly safe for tourists. However, as in any other place in the world, it is vital to keep an eye on your belongings and surroundings at all times – especially when traveling alone!
How to get from Rio de Janeiro to Arraial
To get to Arraial do Cabo from Rio de Janeiro, you can simply take a bus. The ride takes about four hours and costs around 50 reais.
Another way is, of course, by driving the 167 kilometers between both cities.
How to get around Arraial do Cabo
The best way to get around Arraial is walking.
Pretty much everything in the city is within a 20-minute walking distance. If you don’t feel like walking, you can always call an Uber.
How many days to stay in Arraial do Cabo
This all depends on your preferences and trip time, but I usually recommend at least two days to visit Arraial.
If you are looking for a shorter stay in Arraial, consider going for an overnight or weekend trip from Búzios.
What to pack to Arraial do Cabo
As with any other beach destination, there are a few items I always recommend taking:
Reef Safe sunscreen
Sand proof beach blanket
GoPro for filming underwater
Best time to visit Arraial do Cabo
One of the best things about Arraial do Cabo is that you can visit it all year long, making it great to visit any time of the year.
In fact, I recently visited during the beginning of September – Winter in Brazil – and the winter was still nice, and the days were beautiful (though the water was colder than ever!).
Tips for a trip to Arraial
Staying in Cabo Frio or Búzios will give you way more options of things to do at night while still being close enough to visit Arraial.
The city of Arraial do Cabo in itself isn’t very pretty – come mentally prepared for that! However, the beauty of the beaches in the area makes up for it.
Before going on a boat trip in Arraial, paying ten reais to access the marine is necessary.
If you’d like to get a diving certification, Arraial is a great place to do it.
If you are not driving, take an Uber to Pontal do Atalaia because getting there on foot is quite exhausting.
2 Day itinerary for Arraial do Cabo
Start the day with a boat trip to some of the most beautiful beaches in Arraial.
In the afternoon, head to Praia Grande for lunch and visit Deck dos Pescadores.
Spend the rest of the afternoon in Praia Grande or head to Praia do Forno.
Visit the beaches in Pontal do Atalaia and go snorkeling.
In the afternoon, head to Praia dos Anjos or Praia Grande to watch the sunset at have dinner at Praça do Cova.
Wrap-up: Why you should visit Arraial do Cabo on your next trip to Brazil
That’s a wrap! You’ll find plenty of attractions to keep you busy all day long! If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing Brazilian getaway, we think Arraial do Cabo is the perfect place.
I hope this article has given you a few reasons to visit Arraial do Cabo! Let me know if we should add any other information to the blog post, and enjoy your time in Brazil.
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