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The fanciest tips for the ultimate travel experience in Rio de Janeiro and Angra dos Reis

This week finally Summer days have arrived – long days of sunshine, high temperatures, strolling around the beach, jogging at seaside, etc. Indeed the Summer months have a special energy and make us happier, I believe. Swimming and beaches are two main elements which I immediately associate with Summer and make it my favourite season of the year.

Let’s focus on beaches. This week, for those of you who follow me on Instagram I have told you I cannot imagine any Summer without beach holidays: I love the sea, swimming, spending long days at the beach, sunbathing, seafood or fish barbecue, you name it.

Picking the right beach for your perfect beach getaway can be a daunting task, as there are some incredible ones across the planet. I believe the following factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Distance – surely the Caribbean or Maldives have astonishing beaches, but so does Europe, for example Sardinia or Portugal have some of the very best ones. You should decide how far you wish to travel;

  • Type of holidays – do you want to stay at a resort all-included or are you more on the explorer side and like renting appartments while discovering the surroundings?;

  • Kind of beaches – do you prefer wild not so easily accessible ones or more crowded ones?;

  • Obvious one: travelling solo, with your boyfriend/husband or with family? In case you have a family, your priorities will be different and you will perhaps seek more childcare services at resorts.

Of course the actual pandemic context will be different and it is still not very clear how everything will work, I cannot imagine a traffic light system which will decide whether I can go to a certain beach or not. In my home country Portugal there is even an app which will let us know if a certain beach is crowded or not. But well let’s focus on the fancy side and cheer us up 🙂

Going back to my Instagram post and sharing with you one of my favourite beaches worldwide, you have surely heard of Brazil’s natural beauty: from Iguaçu Falls to Lençois Maranhenses or Ipanema beaches in Rio de Janeiro. So I believe it is not a surprise for you that this beautiful country is home to some of the most incredible beaches of this planet. The Noreast region (cities like Porto de Galinhas, Baía, Recife etc) have amazing ones, but did you know there is a paradise just 2h away from Cidade Maravilhosa – Rio de Janeiro?

As you have guessed, I am talking about Angra dos Reis, which is a Unesco world heritage site and one of the most amazing beach spots Brazil has to offer you. If you like the combination of citytrips with beachholidays, combining Rio de Janeiro with Angra dos Reis is just perfect for you and it is exactly what the Fancy Explorer did 😉 So I will share with you all the secrets:

Combining a citytrip to Rio de Janeiro and Beach holidays in Angra dos Reis

If you want to read more about my experience in Rio de Janeiro, as well as certain recommendations go back to my Post on Rio de Janeiro

How long should I stay in Rio?

Well that depends largely on your budget and interests. Rio de Janeiro is an incredible city with a wide range of cultural, artistical and recreational options.

I would say in order to have time to visit the main sights, while enjoying other corners of the city a minimum of 5 days is recommended.

I had the chance of being able to stay 2 weeks and it was great.

What should I not miss by no means in Rio de Janeiro?

For the whole picture, please check my Post on Rio de Janeiro , but take note of the following fancy recommendations:

  • Escadaria Selarón

Escadaria Selarón

Copacabana panorama

Botanical garden

  • Shopping havaianas, stunning biquinis, triquinis or swimsuits at the fancy shopping center Rio Sul My favourite biquini shops are Cia Marítima and Água de Côco

  • Having coconut water and açaí with paçoca at  Rio Açaí Gourmet or Maria Açaí many times during the day

  • Contemplating the sunset at Arpoador in Ipanema 

Arpoador in Ipanema

Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are great. Why should I go to Angra dos Reis? What are the main differences when it comes to beaches?

Ipanema and Copacabana are wonderful beaches (I prefer Ipanema actually), that is correct. Leblon is also a great option. However, they are city beaches, easily crowded (forget weekends there) and not as beautiful as the wonderful pristine and clear water beaches you can find in Angra dos Reis. Not to mention Angra dos Reis is considered a natural paradise and its beaches are one of the very best in Brazil and in the world. On another note, I felt much safer at the beach in Angra dos Reis rather than in Rio de Janeiro.

Let us talk about Safety tips for the beach in Brazil (more applicable to city beaches, like the well-known ones of Ipanema and Copacabana). You can also read more common ones for Brazil in my post:

  • Never ever leave your bag unattended while you go swimming (I believe this is common sense, but still I heard about so many cases of robberies that lasted only a couple of seconds that I cannot stress it enough);

  • I hope not, but if you ever face steaming on a beach (usually on weekends the risk is higher) render yourself and deliver ALL your belongings. No matter how harsh this sounds, it is reality: it is better to lose a family Rolex watch than your life, right? We Europeans cannot imagine it, but wearing a fancy logo or a simple pair of Nike trainers is enough to catch the eye and be a victim of a violent attack;

  • Always go to the beach with a group of friends, never go swimming at the same time and if for example one of you wants to buy a snack or play volleyball, let one person of the group stay to keep an eye on your belongings.

And if you are not yet convinced about Angra, take a look at one of its most beautiful islands – Ilha da Gipóia:

Angra dos Reis – Ilha da Gipóia

Yes, Fancy I am convinced. How can I go to Angra dos Reis and how long should I stay?

Actually I went to Angra dos Reis 1 day immediately after landing in Rio de Janeiro and spent there just a weekend, because on Monday my brother had to go to university. But you could easily spend 3 or 4 days here. As a matter of fact, Angra dos Reis is composed of 365 islands (their logo is indeed visit 1 island per each day of the year) and the biggest one of them: Ilha Grande, where the famous  Lopes Mendes Beach  is located is a must visit. Unfortunately as I was there in August (winter time in Brazil) some options and tours were limited, so I could not make this one. From hiking to swimming and having some of the very best seafood specialities in Brazil, Angra has great options and is a wonderful destination for all kind of travellers, families included.

In terms of transports, I would recommend a private transfer like I did. Angra dos Reis is located about 200km from Rio de Janeiro, but since traffic can be chaotic, plan on a 3-hour ride. I would avoid leaving on a Friday afternoon during rush hours and coming back on a Sunday afternoon.

I can recommend the company Angraway . It is first of all a certified transfer company by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism. They are even partners with the Mercure Hotel in Angra dos Reis (where I stayed). Very professional service, very punctual and extremely kind driver. We paid $200 for both ways and I used Paypal (worked without troubles). The driver picked us up and dropped us at our hotel, you set the time and location and on the way a small stop is always planned.

Where to stay in Angra dos Reis?

I stayed at the 4* Mercure Angra dos Reis and can highly recommend it. It is located in a central area of Angra dos Reis, has great sports facilities: outdoor swimming pool and bar included, great breakfast options and for those of you using the transfer service Angraway as they are partners, the hotel has an exclusive pier from this company from which you depart to any tours they organise. Furthermore if you have previously booked a transfer service, an additional 10% discount is given to the tours. In our case we took a whole day tour and got to explore some of the most beautiful beaches of Angra dos Reis, including the already mentioned Praia do Dentista.

What to do in Angra dos Reis? Is there any particular beach you recommend?

As previously mentioned, Angra dos Reis offers a wide range of activities: from hiking to swimming and boat tours to several islands. As you could read, there is a whole world to explore, since Angra dos Reis is composed of 365 islands. Moreover, the season in which you travel will also dictate which options are available. For example, if you go during the Brazilian wintery months (Summer months in the northern hemisphere), some tours and options will be limited, as it happened in our case.

If you are staying at the Mercure Hotel I would recommend taking a whole day boat tour to explore some of its incredibles beaches – you can take a look at Angraway offer

Praia do Dentista in Angra dos Reis, Ilha da Gipóia: Paradise on Earth

We fell in love with Praia do Dentista and so far has been one of the most beautiful beaches I had the pleasure to visit. Take a look at the picture:

Praia do Dentista in Angra dos Reis

As you can see, it is a sandy beach with very clear and pristine water. Reaching such a paradise just takes a small effort and I will reveal the secret (please note it is not located in central Angra dos Reis, but rather at one of its islands, which is its second biggest oneIlha da Gipóia):

  • Book a taxi from your hotel to the main “marina” in Angra dos Reis (just tell the driver you want to go to Ilha da Gipóia and he will know where to take you)
  • Once you arrive there, take the small boat to Ilha da Gipóia (around 20 min)
  • When you arrive, follow the signs for Praia do Dentista (you cannot miss it)
  • Overall it will be around 1-km hiking (easily manageable even just wearing havaianas)
  • Please note: As it is a pristine, wild beach, no services are available. You would need to walk back 1km for the next bar. Hence, I recommend taking plenty of water, snacks, insect repellent and sunscreen (you can read some of these recommendations at the following post)
  • Enjoy and stay the maximum time you can and take as many pictures as you can!

And after a long day at the beach where can we taste some fancy seafood? Any restaurant tips in Angra dos Reis?

After such a tiring and wonderful long day at the beach, if you are in one of Angra’s islands, go back to the main center by boat.

If you seek the very best seafood, including a traditional seafood moqueca (seafood stew) and an incredible maracuja freshly squeezed juice, there is just one address where to head to:  Restaurante Samburá 

Homemade, authentic food with very kind and attentive staff. For dessert, pick anything with coconut and/or maracuja – I took a kind of maracuja cake which was amazing!

We did not book a table, but we travelled during Brazilian winter, so the demand is lower. If you travel during high season, reservation is mandatory!

When you travel to Rio de Janeiro, no matter how beautiful it is, try to combine with something more genuine and authenic. Do not think that Brazilian beauty is just Ipanema, as there is a whole world to discover. Angra dos Reis is so close to Rio and so incredibly beautiful, it would be a sin if you cannot make it! Especially since it is home to some of the most beautiful islands and beaches not only of Brazil, but also from the whole world.

If you are looking for a city trip and a relaxation time at an incredible beach, I believe Rio de Janeiro and Angra dos Reis would be a perfect match! Fancy elements always granted 😉  Some of the most exclusive homes in Brazil are here (football players and TV stars included) and I can see why: building a house literally on the sand with oceanview is just pure heaven, right?

So next time in Brazil hope you will follow these recommendations and let me know your opinion!

See you fancy travellers and stay safe!