Normally the largest city in the Lake District, Rio de Janeiro ends up being overshadowed by its two neighbors, Arraial do Cabo and Búzios.
However, those who give the destination a chance discover that there are beautiful things to do in Cabo Frio Rio de Janeiro.
Although it doesn’t have the charm of Armação de Búzios and not as much spectacular scenery as Arraial, the São Paulo State territory does not disappoint:
The sea plays its role with dignity, the structure of bars and restaurants is infinitely better than in Arraial, and the prices are slightly more attractive than in the other two seaside resorts.
Cabo Frio history
Cabo Frio was discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1503, having been a constant target of attacks by French and Dutch pirates to exploit the excellent quality of Brazilian timber.
Inhabited by the Tamoio Indians, the Portuguese sought their help to explore the place.
Climate Cabo Frio
Currently Cabo Frio is a large tourist center with a wide network of hotels and inns for domestic and foreign tourists to enjoy its natural beauty.
The beaches are famous for their fine white sand. The tropical climate, where the sun shines brightly throughout the year and there is almost no rain, strongly stimulates this beach tourism.
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What beaches can we visit in Cabo Frio?
In other words, if you are thinking of traveling around these places, there is no reason not to dedicate at least one or two days to enjoy all the good things to do in Cabo Frio.
And, in this post, we’ll tell you about the places you should include in your agenda.
1- Praia do Forte
Unlike many destinations that have their central and urban beaches as the least frequented, in Cabo Frio this does not happen. On the contrary.
Praia do Forte, which is less than a kilometer from the city center, is exactly the most popular beach.
Enjoying the beach, even with its spacious stretch of sand, it can be difficult to find shade during the busiest months.
There are lots of people, lots of food and drink stalls, and lots of street vendors, at least in the most central part.
To escape the crowds and the structure by the sea, the advice is to keep walking to the right of the beach, towards Praia das Dunas.
Anyway, the good thing to go to Praia do Forte and use the services of the good kiosks on the beach of Praça das Águas.
In the natural attributes, expect to find white sand, blue sea and waves in the right measure.
2- Praia do Peró
If you want a place away from the central fear and still stay in a nice beach with a reasonable structure and beautiful sands, the suggestion is to go to Praia do Peró, which is located fifteen kilometers from the city center.
Praia do Peró has its own rhythm and lifestyle. It is not a wild beach, however, the neighborhood achieves a good balance of stores and residences, making it a pleasant neighborhood.
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The view of the beach does not disappoint either: greenish marzão with waves, golden sand and some stalls on the edge.
To have a good view of all this landscape, on the right corner of the beach is the Costa do Sol State Park, a small hill with preserved vegetation from where you can see everything from above.
And right next to the state park, another beach you should take the opportunity to see is Praia das Conchas.
3- Passagem Neighborhood
Another thing you can’t miss in Cabo Frio is to visit the Passagem neighborhood, which is located about a kilometer from the city center and Praia do Forte.
Although it does not have as many historic buildings as in Paraty, the neighborhood preserves a photogenic colonial architecture. In addition, in the late afternoon several bars open their doors and their tables on the sidewalk make the atmosphere even more pleasant.
Undoubtedly a great region to wait for the sunset after a day at the beach.
4- Japanese Island
In the middle of the Araruama Lagoon, not far from the central hustle and bustle, is the Cabo Frio Japanese Island – one of the main tourist attractions of Cabo Frio.
With a narrow margin for bathers to stretch out, calm, clear waters and unparalleled tranquility (outside of high season, of course!), the island serves as a great retreat without the need for complicated logistics to get there.
To go to Ilha do Japonês, just take one of the boats located on the shores of the lagoon, next to the Passagem neighborhood.
The way to go to vote costs about R$ 15,00 per person and the tour does not take ten minutes.
If you are going to spend the day, take everything you need because there is no structure on the island. If you prefer more comfort, an alternative is to settle in a restaurant located on the opposite shore of the island, and enjoy the same waters of the lagoon, only with more comfort.
To avoid getting frustrated with the attraction, avoid visiting the Japanese island on weekends, as it tends to be very crowded.
5- What to eat in Cabo Frio Brazil
Cabo Frio is the kind of destination you will love: you eat well without having to spend a fortune.
Even the offer of bars and restaurants in the city is infinitely better than its neighbor Arraial do Cabo.
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One of the regions full of cool places is the Passagem neighborhood. There, two places that stand out are the Chef’s Office and the Dream Land Pub.
Still around here, you will taste the perfect Le Monde dish at lunchtime, and you won’t regret it.
Other regions that offer various gastronomic possibilities are the seaside avenue of Praia do Forte, at the height of Praça das Águas (kiosks, ice cream parlors and cafes), and the Canal Boulevard (bars and restaurants).
6 – Arraial is right there
It’s true that Cabo Frio alone is a great trip. However, since you will be in the Lake District, take at least two days to see the beauties of Arraial do Cabo as well.
Located twelve kilometers from Cabo Frio, in Arraial you can take a boat ride that will take you to Ilha do Farol, visit the famous Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia stairs, or even take a trail to Praia do Forno – which offers one of the best views of the city.
Although you can do all this on a round trip from Cabo-Frio, depending on your itinerary it may be more appropriate to stay a few days in Arraial.
- SEE THE COMPLETE ARRAIAL DO CABO GUIDE!
7- Búzios is right there
Another thing you can do in Cabo Frio, if you have time, is to extend your trip to Búzios, which is twenty-five kilometers away.
In this case, however, although the distance is not that great, you should ideally stay at least two nights at a resort. After all, Búzios has dozens of beaches worth visiting.
Some of your favorite places with lots of sand are Praia da Azeda e Azedinha, Praia da Ferradurinha, Praia da Tartaruga and Praia de Geribá.
Another must-do on your itinerary is to indulge in the dozens of flavors along Rua das Pedras.
Believe me, there are restaurants for all tastes and (almost) all pockets. To tell the truth, eating there is not the cheapest thing in the world.
However, it is possible to find more affordable places that go out of the central hustle and bustle.
- SEE THE COMPLETE BUZIOS GUIDE!
+ Suggestions of what to do in Cabo Frio?
There are also other activities you can add to your list of things to do in Cabo Frio.
Near Praia do Forte, the São Mateus Fort is an attraction that usually attracts most travelers.
Also across from Praça das Águas is the Praça da Cidadania, which houses the Surf Museum and a handicraft market during the evening.
Another place to visit in Cabo Frio, especially for women, is Rua dos Biquínis, a sort of open-air gallery with dozens of stores selling this type of clothing.
How to go, where to stay and tips for traveling to Cabo Frio: one of the best cities in the lake region of Rio de Janeiro.
How to get to Cabo Frio
After more than 7 hours drive from São Paulo, you will arrive in Cabo Frio. The trip is long and you may wonder if it is worth it.
To get to Cabo Frio, there are two alternatives to leave São Paulo. Following the Dutra, after passing the border of the States and the Serra das Araras (Piraí/RJ), there is a fork.
Either one enters, crossing the cities of Magé, or one enters the Great River and crosses the Rio Niterói Bridge.
The route along the BR-493 road avoids having to take the Red Line and cross the Niteroi River Bridge.
But the road is deserted and in a deplorable situation. Avoid traveling at night. In Itaboraí, the roads are as good as new.
By bus, there are direct cars from São Paulo, from R$ 180,00 (ref. May/2019), with several daily departures.
Cabo Frio distances
- Cabo Frio from Rio de Janeiro: The distance between the city of Rio de Janeiro and the city of Cabo Frio is 153 km. The estimated travel time between the two cities is approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes.
- Distance Cabo Frio Buzios: 38 min (23.5 km) by Estr. do Guriri and Estr. dos Búzios.
- How far is Arraial do Cabo to Cabo frio: 20 min (13.2 km) by Rod. Gen. Bruno Martins
Is there a direct bus between Rio de Janeiro and Cabo Frio?
- We found a direct bus from Rio de Janeiro to Novo Rio and arrived in Cabo Frio. Departures every 30 minutes, and every day. This tour lasts approximately 2h 48m.
Cabo Frio Brazil Airport
Cabo Frio International Airport is located in Brazil, near the city of Cabo Frio.
If you want to reach the airport by car, the exact address of the airport is Estrada Velha do Arraial do Cabo 64-1896 (GPS: -42.074167,-22.921667).
Usually the airport name is abbreviated with the IATA code CFB.
Cabo Frio accommodation
You may like to stay near the Boulevard do Canal, or perhaps choose the quiet neighborhood of Passagem.
This neighborhood is a historic part of the city, with houses and streets preserved as they were at the time of Cabo Frio’s foundation 400 years ago.
The place is really charming and as of 2017, it was also transformed into a gastronomic center, with several options of bars and restaurants.
Cabo Frio lodging, our recommendations
Our lodging option was the Recanto da Passagem Boutique Hotel, in front of the Itajurú Canal.
The hotel is exquisitely decorated, with a whimsical lobby and rooms.
The pool is also lovely, but very small. Breakfast is a delight and the service of the entire staff is exquisite.
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Breakfast. Attention. View of the lake. Location beautiful place and close to excellent gastronomy. Afternoon snack.
But the region has other good lodging options:
- Pousada Pargos, Cabo Frio: An economical place, with the necessary services to spend a comfortable and clean night.
- Samba Cabo Frio: New hotel, very clean, nice room with comfortable bed, the rooms apart from the street are quiet, good wifi.
- Cabo Frio Pousada la Portella: Very good price/quality ratio, very attentive and predisposed staff. The room is spacious and has everything you need to spend a few nice days at the beach.