Buzios is a seaside resort town about three hours north of Rio de Janeiro. I go to Buzios every time I visit Rio, and my recent trip to Brazil for the World Cup was no exception. The town is picturesque and peaceful, even moreso after the hustle and bustle of the FIFA games.
Booking an award on American Airlines is the best way to go. I flew there in peak season for 60,000 miles, but you can get to Rio and Buzios for only 40,000 miles roundtrip if you travel off season either between May 1 to 31 or August 16 to November 30. There is an even better 35,000-mile deal on US Airways, but availability is scarce.
From Rio you need to get to Rodoviria Novo Rio bus terminal for the ride to Buzios, then catch a very comfortable and air-conditioned Via§£o 1001 bus for about $20.
You can time your side trip so you can return directly to the airport for your flight home. The same bus company runs shuttles between Buzios and Rio de Janeiro/Gale£o Airport (GIG), although it will cost $40 to get to the airport from there.
Aside from more than 20 distinct beaches, there are dozens of pubs and restaurants, plenty of charming shops, art galleries, and vibrant nightlife, all in the center of town around cobblestone Rua dos Pedros.
You can take a scenic boat tour from the downtown marina to Cabo Frio or a water taxi that can take you to different beaches. I would recommend dedicating your first day to beach hopping to find your perfect spot.
If you are into nature, there are two nature preserves in the area, Emerªncias Reserve is a good place to see monkeys, and Tau Reserve has many species of birds and butterflies. If you are a golfer, there is an 18-hole course designed by Pete and Perry Dye.
Buzios is not a budget destination, but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for a hotel or a restaurant. Simple posadas (moderately-priced inns) go for about $60 a night, and a decent dinner might set you back $20. A car rental costs about $50 a day, although you don’t really need a car.
The intense construction boom in Buzios during the past 20 years has led to an abundance of vacation rental properties. Prices have gone up considerably in the last few years, but we were able to book a house with a pool and sauna for about $160 a night even at the last minute.
If you have time to book in advance, you can do even better. Check VRBO, Home Away, or Trip Advisor for vacation rental opportunities. Airbnb is also an option.
A Gem Worth a Stop
Buzios is very popular with South American and European tourists, but not very well known in North America. I would not recommend flying to Brazil just for Buzios, simply because there are more than enough beautiful beach spots closer to home. But if you are going to Rio anyway, you should stop and see this incredible gem.
I spent three days in Buzios before continuing to the Amazon. Next report: Manaus.