Arraial do Cabo is a little town 160km away from Rio de Janeiro with some of the best beaches in the area - and possibly all of Brazil.
While in Rio, I had time for only 1 dayrtip (unfortunately), so I chose Arraial do Cabo. I decided to leave Paraty and Ilha Grande for next time, simply because they require more than 1 day to properly enjoy them.
With Arraial, I thought it would be easy... One hour bus ride there in the morning, spend the whole day, one hour bus ride back. Two hours if there's traffic.
Well... I was wrong. It took exactly 3 hours to get there. The last 45 minutes were spent in a huge traffic jam, all going into the small town of Arraial. I guess it was the peak of Brazilian summer, right after New Year, and everyone was on holiday and going to the beach.
Oh well, there was nothing I could do to avoid the crowds.
When I finally got to Arraial, it was 11am. I had a quick Acaì for breakfast, then headed for my first beach: Praia do Forno!
This beach required a quick hike up a hill. The 40-degree heat made it a bit more difficult than I thought, but I was rewarded with the views!
The beach was absolutely packed. I managed to find a spot with relatively few people in the water. The water was crystal clear and amazing to swim in.
After about an hour here, I decided I had enough of the crowds. and was ready to move on.
I hiked back over the hill and did a quick lunch break in town for pastel de camarao and coconut water. Then I walked to the other side of town (it's very small) and started the hike to the next beach - As Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia.
Those are actually two small beaches, divided by a cliff in the middle. During low tide they become one beach. People usually come here by boat, by car or by pick-up truck (there are a few of those that drive the touristts around). However, I decided to hike.
I didn't get very far though - an empty pick-up truck stopped and the driver offered to take me to the beach for free, so I jumped in :)
This was the view when I got off the pick-up truck.
All those beautiful shades of blue! I couldn't wait to get in that water.
Yes it was crowded, not as much as the previous beach. Again I managed to find some spots without many people. I hid my things between the rocks and went swimming! I spent the entire day here, playing in the small waves.
When it was time to leave, I tried to do a different hike back, and pass by a small hidden beach - Praia Brava. Unfortunately, the trail was closed off. I did see some nice views from the cliffs though.
Soon I was back in town, just in time to have another acaì and a coffee before getting on the bus back to Rio.
The journey back was even worse than the first one - it took exactly 4 hours. The first 2 hours were spent in traffic jams, just to get out of the area! To top it off, the driver had the bus AC at 18 degrees and was not willing to raise the temperature. I spent 4 hours shivering in my beach dress! I've never been happier to get off at a hot and humid bus station than that day.
Despite the difficulties with transportation, I loved the paradise beaches of Arraial,and would love to come back in a less touristy time :)