Búzios: A pocket guide
Located on a jutting ocean peninsula that was once the lair of French pirates, Búzios is an upscale vacation destination to the east of Rio de Janeiro. It has 21 beaches and 26 hidden coves, and most of its 20,000 inhabitants work in the tourism industry. Although the number-one sport is sun-worshipping, there are plenty of activities to keep more adventurous travelers occupied, among them horse-back riding in the hills above the sea, hang-gliding on the gentle Brazilian breeze, and sailing to nearby Ilha Feia to enjoy a spot of snorkeling and catch a wave or two. The northern region of the peninsula is full of traditional charm, with a harbor, a yacht club, and a handful of select hotels; in the central area of Manguinhos you’ll find nightclubs, bars, and a considerably livelier atmosphere. A number of esplanades and hotels are named for Brigitte Bardot, who visited in 1964, seeking a quiet hideaway, and extended her stay on account of her instant passion for the area. More celebrities have followed (Mick Jagger, Madonna), charmed by Búzios’s beauty and laid-back obscurity. The region holds onto its fishing past; swim out at sunset and you’ll find yourself navigating the nets cast out by local fishermen. Their catches of lobster, squid, sardines, and giant prawns are best enjoyed washed down with Brazil’s own version of the mojito: white rum on a bed of crushed ice, topped with lime, mint, and a sprinkling of sugar.