It’s midwinter in North America and Europe, which means it’s midsummer in Rio de Janeiro, and temperatures in this steamy city are spiralling into the high 30s and above.
When things start to hot up in Rio they get seriously hot, and for those who literally can’t stand the heat it’s time to make like the locals and head off to breezier beach resorts in Rio de Janeiro state.
Luckily for those in search of the perfect beach, Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by plenty of contenders for that title. Around two hours by coach lies the gorgeous beach resort of Buzios, a one-time quiet fishing village that became one of Brazil’s hottest destinations during the 1960s, when Bridget Bardot took a holiday there with her Brazilian boyfriend of the time. Today, Buzios is a hot destination for surfers, sunbathers and well-to-do Rio locals who spend their days at the 20-something beaches and their nights at the town’s many restaurants.
A slightly less touristic option is Angra dos Reis, a beach town surrounded by 365 islands (one for every day of the year, as the locals say) and which is often overlooked by tourists as they make their way directly to the largest of the islands, Ilha Grande.
Book a hotel at Praia do Bonfim, in Angra dos Reis, and you will be right on the sands of a perfect sandy bay with clear waters that are safe for swimming and home to a population of sea turtles. Strong swimmers can make their way out to a tiny island on which sits an even tinier whitewashed church – if you doubt your swimming abilities (it’s about 15 minutes with a significant undertow), ask your hotel to loan you a canoe to make the short trip.
Regular comfortable, air conditioned buses depart for both Angra dos Reis (here you can take boats to Ilha Grande) and Buzios from Rio de Janeiro’s main bus station, Rodoviaria Novo Rio.