To the east and west of Rio you can find some of Brazil's best beaches, and on Buzios and Costa Verde holidays you can take your pick of the finest. Once a small fishing community, Buzios was put firmly on the map when Brigitte Bardot was photographed on holiday here in the 60s. Despite increasing popularity the area has retained its charm by strictly controlling development, allowing only low rise construction. On a Buzios holiday you can pick your favourite of over 20 beaches in the vicinity, and head off windsurfing, surfing, diving, riding, trekking, biking or sailing. To the south-west of Rio lies the lush Costa Verde,
home to charming coastal villages, more gorgeous beaches and a lovely laidback surf culture. Costa Verde holidays are prime road trip territory as you cruise from Rio to Sao Paolo, with one particular highlight being the tiny town of Paraty. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well preserved colonial architecture, the cobbled streets of Paraty are a delight to wander around, as are the boutique shops, fine restaurants and bars, which are some of the best in Brazil. You can also explore the coastline here by kayak, and of course surf beautiful beach breaks to your heart's content.
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Head about three hours east from the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) of Rio de Janeiro and you’ll find yourself in the vicinity of stylish Buzios. Sometimes likened to a Brazilian Côte d’Azur, the region is brimming with trendy boutiques, lavish hotels and tasteful restaurants. However, it’s the 26 blonde-sand beaches which steal the limelight here and with so many to choose from, there’s one to suit every mood. Soak up the lively buzz of Geriba beach, well-loved by youngsters, or seek out a more secluded slice of sand on Azeda beach, surrounded by lush vegetation and rocky outcrops.
Venture out of Rio in the opposite direction to reach the Costa Verde, the coastline running from Itaguaí to Santos, and aptly named for the dense rainforest encasing the mountain sides. The coastal stretch is a jack-of-all-trades, boasting charming towns, golden beaches and colonial-era ports. Road trip along the Costa Verde to gain a full appreciation of your surroundings, or alternatively hop in a kayak to explore the coastline from the water. The historic Portuguese municipality of Paratay is a must-visit, with its well-maintained colonial centre and thriving cultural scene, hosting the famed Paratay Literature Festival each July.