Arraial do Cabo is located 170 km from Rio de Janeiro, in Regiao dos Lagos (Lakes Region). The small town has a fishermen village atmosphere and offers beautiful beaches of white sand and crystal-clear waters, great diving spots with rich marine life and anchovy artisanal fishing.
In the past, it was occupied by tupinamba Indians and filled with high quality Brazilwood. The town was a stage for the colonial times, when it witnessed piracy episodes and shipwrecks.
According to the Navy Museum, in Arraial do Cabo, deep in the sea, rests the highest number of galleons, caravels and frigates of Portuguese, French, Dutch, English, and even Brazilian origin in our coast. This is only outnumbered by Bay of All Saints (Baia de Todos os Santos), in the state of Bahia.
Arraial do Cabo was the disembarking point for the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci, who built a house of clay and stone in the Rama neighborhood, now known as Praia dos Anjos (Angels’ Beach). There the first feitoria (factory) was established in Brazil.
Surrounded by mountains, Arraial offers white sand dunes, restingas, lagoons, clean beaches and beautiful cliffs, such as Pontal do Atalaia, where the beaches are among the most beautiful of the Brazilian coast, and the surrounding mountains give an incredible view of the region.
The extremely cold and clear waters allow for a diverse marine life. It’s not by chance that Arraial is considered the Diving Capital. According to professional divers, the water temperature usually varies from 15º to 22ºC all year long, but it can drop to 9ºC or less, depending on the season.
One of the main diving spots is Forno Beach, surrounded by woods, which helps preserve and protect its cove. To get there you have to take a hiking trail from the pier at Praia dos Anjos. The effort is rewarded with a refreshing swim in its green waters.
Boat rides can be a pleasant way of seeing all the coast of Arraial. Some depart from the dock at Praia dos Anjos toward Pontal do Atalaia, stopping at its beaches, in Cabo Frio Island, at Farol beach and at Gruta Azul, and, if you’re lucky, you can see dolphins during the ride.
Besides visiting the beaches, you can also take the opportunity to stand up paddle or go snorkeling.
Where to stay
Since it’s a small town, Arraial do Cabo doesn’t offer luxurious lodgings. However, you can find several B&Bs, hostels and hotels with reasonable prices.
The closest international airport is Tom Jobim International Airport, in Rio de Janeiro, about 170 km from Arraial. There is also an airport in Cabo Frio, 10 km from Arraial, with incoming flights from Buenos Aires, Rio and Belo Horizonte.
If you’re in Rio de Janeiro, you can take a bus to Arraial do Cabo, about 170 km from there. Rio’s bus terminal has bus lines that go to Arraial and other towns in Regiao dos Lagos.
Personal or rental vehicles
From Rio de Janeiro, it’s about 170 km to Arraial do Cabo. You can rent a car and drive there. See the route from Rio to Arraial.
Personal or rental vehicle
You can rent a car or a buggy to drive through the streets and beaches of Arraial do Cabo. The town is small and easy to navigate. This map can help you.