5 amazing places around Rio to visit during the 2016 Olympics

Rio Olympic Games start in August, a little more than a month from now. The city will be full of tourists and crowded with sports enthusiasts, which may be a drag sometimes. That’s why I’m here today. I’ll tell you about the best 5 places in Rio de Janeiro state to visit if you want to escape from the frenzy of the capital.

Ilha Grande:

Ilha Grande is the third biggest island in Brazil, and the biggest in Rio de Janeiro. It’s an endless source of trails for the avid trekker, actually you have no choice but to walk a lot, since there are no cars allowed in the island. There are over 100 beaches in this paradise most of them deserted so you can relax and enjoy the sea at peace, away from the noisy city of Rio de Janeiro. Another great thing about this place is that it can be extremely cheap(even though I’m sure prices will rise up during the Olympics). If you stay in hostels, and avoid the most expensive boat rides, you can easily spend 4 days in this place with LESS than U$200. And that’s with bus tickets and accommodation. By the way I recommend you stay in Biergarten Hostel, you will pay a little more money but you will get a lot more quality.

IlhaGrande3 IlhaGrande2 IlhaGrande1


A few miles west of Ilha Grande you have the beautiful and historical city of Paraty. The city has a lot more to offer than just a beautiful coastline, even though this region also has a lot of amazing beaches. During hundreds of years this was one of the most important gold exporting cities in the country, and in the Historical Center you can still see the typical architecture of this period in Brazilian history, giving Paraty a great atmosphere that makes you travel through time back to colonial times. Another great attraction here is Cachaça, a typical Brazilian drink. The city has a massive production of it and you can see that by visiting the dozens of stores selling the drink in every corner.

paraty archt paraty trindade

To visit the beaches you should book one of the boat rides that take you to the most interesting points across the coast, since the beaches that you can reach by bus are not that good actually.

Cabo Frio:

The next three spots on this list are in the same region called Regiao dos Lagos. And the most important city in the area is Cabo Frio. With over 100000 people living there, the city is actually quite big, but still holds that feel of a small coastal town especially around the most famous beach called Praia do Forte, a huge beach with a lot of restaurants, small stores and even a handicraft fair nearby.

Cabo frio

Cabo Frio2

Another great place to visit while in Cabo Frio is Canal Itajuru, here you will find the best restaurants and dance clubs in the city, and also the oldest handicraft fair in the city. You really can’t miss it.

Arraial do Cabo:

Arraial was once part of Cabo Frio, but since it’s emancipation the city has grown as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Rio. It is a very small town, but full of amazing beaches and beautiful landscapes. This is also the best spot in the state for scuba divers and there are dozens of agencies selling diving classes. If you visit Regiao dos Lagos, you absolutely must spend at least one day in Arraial do Cabo.

Arraial Forno

Arraial Atalaia

The places you can’t miss here are Praia do Forno and Pontal do Atalaia, Besides that, you should definitely book a boat ride, its the best way to see the amazing scenery of this town.


Most people consider this the best city in Regiao dos Lagos. It certainly is the most luxurious of them all and therefore the most expensive. Buzio is filled with 4 and 5 stars hotels and some of the best restaurants in Rio.

But it isn’t all about the luxury, the city is also home to some of the most beautiful locations in the state. It has dozens of beaches, with crystal clear waters and white sand. In Rio most of the beaches are huge, but not in Buzios. Here most are just small, cozy little stretches of sand and blue waters. And every little beach you find is prettier than the last.

Buzios RuaPedras


If you come to Brazil to attend the Olympic Games, take a little time off the capital and visit all these gems that are just a few hours away from Rio de Janeiro.

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9 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    Your photos are just INCREDIBLE! So many gorgeous beaches! I wish I was going to be in Rio for the Olympics, but it’s not in the cards for me this year. Great, timely post though. I’ll be sure to recommend this to any of my friends who might heading that way this summer. Cheers!

  2. Carly Moore says:

    Some of these places look incredible. I have some mega concerns about Rio’s Olympics though haha.

  3. I have always wanted to visit SOuth America. This doesn’t help me at all – stuck over here in Europe. lol

  4. Karla Strand says:

    Thanks for the tips – they will be useful to me next year! The photos are amazing.

  5. I’m visiting Central/South America next year but have been put off visiting Brazil because it seems soo expensive! These photos are beaut though- one day!

  6. BEAUTIFUL photos! It would be such an amazing thing to watch the Olympics in person. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kerri says:

    Some of my fave places in Rio. Wish I was returning for the GAmes. Will be an amazing vibe.

  8. Rea says:

    Wow, I wouldn’t say that there are so many small hidden spots so close to the huge city of Rio. And it’s almost hard to believe that you can actually still find a cheap place in Brazil, such as Ilha Grande. I like the idea of escaping from the city rush to the small nearby beaches. Lovely pics, by the way!! 🙂

  9. Samantha says:

    Can’t wait to watch the Olympics. It would be really cool to actually BE there… and I would be so happy to stay at one of these locales you mentioned. The beaches are beautiful!!

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