It’s easy to get out of Rio city, something you’ll probably want to do at some stage during your stay. There are good bus services to all the places mentioned below, while the easiest trips are by ferry just across the bay to the Ilha de Paquetá – a car-free zone popular with locals – or to Niterói, whose Museu de Arte Contemporânea has become an essential sight for visitors to Rio. After that, the choice is a simple one: either head east along the Costa do Sol to Cabo Frio and Búzios, or west along the Costa Verde to Ilha Grande and Paraty; both coasts offer endless good beaches and little holiday towns, developed to varying degrees. Or strike off inland to Petrópolis and Teresópolis, where the mountainous interior provides a welcome, cool relief from the frenetic goings-on back in Rio.
Inter-urban buses fanning out to all points in the state make getting out of the city easy. If you plan on renting a car (for addresses in Rio), this is as good a state as any to brave the traffic: the coasts are an easy drive from the city and stopping off at more remote beaches is simple; additionally, having your own wheels would let you get to grips with the extraordinary scenery up in the mountains.Read More
Ilha de Paquetá
Ilha de Paquetá
The ILHA DE PAQUETÁ is an island of one square kilometre in the north of Guanabara Bay, an easy day-trip that is very popular with cariocas at weekends. It was first occupied by the Portuguese in 1565 and later was a favourite resort of Dom João VI, who had the São Roque chapel built here in 1810. Nowadays, the island is almost entirely given over to tourism. About two thousand people live here, but at weekends that number is multiplied several times by visitors from the city, here for the tranquillity – the only motor vehicle allowed is an ambulance – and the beaches, which, sadly, are now heavily polluted. Still, the island makes a pleasant day’s excursion – with colonial-style buildings that retain a certain shabby charm – and the trip is an attraction in itself: if possible, time your return to catch the sunset over the city as you sail back. Weekdays are best if you want to avoid the crowds, or come in August for the wildly celebrated Festival de São Roque.
- East: Niterói and the Costa do Sol
- West: the Costa Verde
- Inland: north to the mountains