This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Arraial do Cabo. To help you make friends with Arraial do Cabo before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Arraial do Cabo is a beach town on the east coast of Brazil, 45km east of Saquarema, near Rio de Janeiro. It lies at the far end of a peninsula, along a dangerous stretch of coastline, and has a plethora of shipwrecks from the 16th century onwards. For this reason, it’s known as the diving capital of Brazil. The nutrient rich waters also attract various turtles and underwater life; there is also a large reef to snorkel or scuba dive. The main airport in town is the Aeroporto Internacional de Cabo Frio. From there, catch a local bus to the downtown bus station. If you have a car, you can drive two hours to Arraial do Cabo from Rio de Janeiro.
The town is not as touristy as some of the others nearby, but there are plenty of hostels for backpackers and budget travellers. Look for the words “albergues da juventude,” in Portuguese. Most hostels are found in the Praia Grande, and Vila Canaa neighbourhoods just south of the downtown area. If you prefer a beach hostel, look near Praia Grande, Praia dos Anjos, or Praia Forno. Since Arraial do Cabo is a diving and surfing destination, a lot of hostels also offer surfboards or diving lessons at a discounted rate.
The Ilha do Cabo Frio Biological Reserve lies on a small island just off the southeastern coast. To get to the island, you first must have a permit; check the local visitors centre for information. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Arraial do Cabo is a boat trip around the cape. Humpback whale migration routes pass right offshore; the best time to see these enormous cetaceans is in the summer. Arraial do Cabo is not as bustling as nearby Buzios, but the town offers plenty to do at night, especially in the Praia Grande neighbourhood.
Written by local enthusiast for Arraial do Cabo hostelsJakob Lombardi