I booked a tour through one of the many agencies in Búzios for BRA$140. The next morning at 8:30, I was picked up from my hostel in a minibus. We took a scenic 30 minute drive to the end of the beach in Cabo Frio. Cabo Frio has a very long stretch of white sandy beach with strong waves. There are hotels all up and down the coast and sand dunes to explore.
At the very end of the beach is a small fort, Forte São Mateus, with a great view of the surrounding area. The fort itself isn’t very interesting.
Near the fort is a short path taking you to a panoramic look at Boca da Barra, the entrance to the Cabo Frio harbor.
I took a few moments to watch the fishermen tending to their colorful boats and a few others fishing from the rocks.
Next, we drove to Arraial do Cabo where we walked through the small town to the harbor. There wasn’t much to see in town except a small blue and white church, Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.
At the harbor, we waited to board the large boat that would take us to Ilha do Farol. The boat offered drinks and kebabs for sale. It took us around the bay to give us a nice overview of the area, passing the industrial port (Porto do Forno), Praia do Forno, floating restaurants at Ponte d’Água, and Ilha dos Porcos.
We continued to a large uninhabited island, Ilha do Farol, which is now a nature preserve. The island is very close to the mainland. We passed through a small strait between the island and the mainland, Boqueirão do Cabo, leaving the calm waters of the bay and entering the rough waters of the Atlantic. One of the rocks at the end of the strait is named Pedra do Macaco (monkey) because it resembles a monkey’s profile.
As the boat rocked back and forth in the choppy waters, we were taken to see an interesting grotto on the island, Gruta Azul. We watched in awe as the large waves crashed against the rocks on the island.
Returning back to the bay side of the island, we passed by a natural split in the rock with a small statue of the Virgin in between. This is called Fenda de Nossa Senhora.
The boat finally stopped at Ilha do Farol for the most enjoyable part of the tour. Everyone boarded a small speedboat and we reached the shore at Praia do Farol. The sand was so fine it was like powder and the water was crystal clear. The waves were calm. It was one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Many people laid out in the sand, others swam in the water, and a few were snorkeling.
Next, we were taken to another beach directly across on the mainland, Prainhas do Atalaia. It was equally beautiful. This time, I was able to jump off the boat and swim to shore. I had a nice nap for a half hour and swam back to the boat.
We finished the tour with a stop for lunch at an open buffet featuring Brazilian food. It wasn’t the best quality, but it was acceptable. After lunch, I was dropped off at my hostel.
Although all of this can be done without paying for a tour, the tour was worth it. It saved a lot of time and hassle waiting for buses and finding the right places. I also think if I had done it all on my own, it would have taken two days, not one.