The Insider's Guide to Exploring Rio de Janeiro & Nearby Beach Towns Buzios and Paraty

Fora Travel Agent Isabella Meyer wearing black and white jacket with buildings and mountains in the background
Curated By

Bella Rose

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  • Brazil

  • Rio de Janeiro

  • Beaches

  • Luxury Travel

  • Honeymoons

  • Nature Escapes

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Downtown

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

Sunset from Sugarloaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil overlooking the city full of white buildings and the large drastic mountains.
Curator’s statement

Escape to the vibrant shores of Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding beaches on a luxurious getaway where you can relax and take in the incredible sights and beauty Brazil’s coast has to offer. Experience the best of Brazil's coastal paradise, from the iconic Copacabana Beach, to the charming colonial town of Paraty, to the crystal-clear waters in the upscale beach town of Buzios. Immerse yourself in the enchanting blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights that coastal Brazil offers, all while basking in the warmth of the Brazilian sun. You’ll quickly discover why Rio de Janeiro's beaches are truly an irresistible destination for those seeking luxury and relaxation.

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Where to stay In Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

This Art Deco icon reigns supreme over its namesake beach, an unmatched destination for tapping into the spirit of Rio’s beach culture.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro

Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro is a luxurious gem located in the heart of Brazil's most vibrant city. With sleek and modern design, exquisite dining options, a rooftop pool boasting panoramic ocean views, and impeccable service, Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking sophistication and indulgence in one of the world's most captivating destinations.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily.

  • Complimentary 50-minute massage for two per room.

  • Upgrade & extended check-In/out whenever possible.

Casas Brancas Boutique Hotel & Spa

Perched on a hilltop in Búzios, Brazil, Casas Brancas Boutique Hotel & Spa offers a luxurious retreat overlooking the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do In Rio de Janeiro

View of the city of Rio de Janeiro with rocky coast in the background

This guide will cover Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding beach towns of Buzios and Paraty, all in one!

Rio de Janeiro activities:

Copacabana Beach: Relax on the golden sands, soak up the sun, and enjoy beachside drinks while admiring the lively atmosphere.

Christ the Redeemer: Visit the iconic statue atop Corcovado Mountain for breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro's skyline and coastline.

Sugarloaf Mountain: Take a cable car ride to the top for panoramic views of the city, beaches, and Guanabara Bay.

Santa Teresa: Explore this charming neighborhood's winding streets, vibrant art scene, and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere.

Buzios activities:

Beach Hopping: Explore Buzios' picturesque beaches, such as Praia da Azeda, João Fernandes, and Geribá, known for their crystal-clear waters and natural beauty.

Rua das Pedras: Stroll along this lively street filled with boutique shops, charming cafés, and vibrant nightlife.

Boat Tour: Take a boat trip to discover the stunning coastline, visit secluded beaches, and snorkel in the turquoise waters.

Paraty activities:

Experience Cachaça Tasting: Paraty is famous for its production of cachaça, a traditional Brazilian spirit. Visit local distilleries, such as Cachaça Pedra Branca and Cachaça Maria Izabel, to learn about the process of making cachaça and indulge in tastings of different flavors and styles.

Go Hiking and Waterfall Visits: Explore the lush surrounding mountains through hiking trails, such as the Gold Trail (Caminho do Ouro) and the Pedra Branca trail. Along the way, you'll encounter beautiful waterfalls, such as Tobogã Waterfall and Pedra Branca Waterfall, where you can cool off with a refreshing dip.

Relax on Paraty Beaches: Don't miss the opportunity to unwind on Paraty's beautiful beaches. Praia do Pontal, Jabaquara Beach, and Praia do Cachadaço are popular choices. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and beachside refreshments while taking in the picturesque coastal scenery.

Places to eat & drink In Rio de Janeiro

Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) in a basket in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro:

Sushi Leblon: Incredible, melt-in-your mouth sushi, perfect for lunch and dinner. May be the best you’ll ever have.

Mee: Located in the Belmond Copacabana Palace, this upscale restaurant offers a fusion of Asian flavors, impeccable service, and a refined atmosphere.

Aprazível: Situated in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, this restaurant offers a picturesque hillside setting, delectable Brazilian dishes, and an extensive drinks menu.


Rocka Beach Lounge: Enjoy fresh seafood, Mediterranean flavors, and stunning ocean views at this beachfront restaurant.

Mistico Sunset Lounge & Restaurant: Delight in a fusion of Brazilian and Mediterranean cuisine while watching the sunset over Ferradura Beach.

Bar do Zé: Savor traditional Brazilian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere, complemented by live music and friendly service.


Banana da Terra: Traditional Brazilian cuisine with innovative twists. The restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored colonial building and features a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Refúgio Restaurante: Located in a charming garden courtyard, it’s renowned for its seafood dishes and Brazilian specialties. The menu focuses on fresh ingredients and flavors, and the restaurant provides a welcoming and relaxed dining experience.

Thai Brasil: You may be wondering, why Thai in Brazil? Thai Brasil is simply a standout option. This restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients, providing a unique and flavorful dining experience.

Need to Know

For more Brazil travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Aprille Muscara's guide, 9-Day Itinerary in Brazil: City, Beach, and Nature and Fora guide, First-Timer's Guide to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fora Travel Agent Isabella Meyer wearing black and white jacket with buildings and mountains in the background

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Bella Rose

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Brazil.