With nearly two dozen beaches to choose from in and around Búzios, it's hard to know where to start. In general, the southern beaches are trickier to get to, but they’re prettier and have better surf. The northern beaches are more sheltered and closer to the towns.

Going counterclockwise from south of Manguinhos, the first beaches are Geribá and Ferradurinha (Little Horseshoe). These are beautiful beaches with good surf. Next on the coast is Ferradura, which is large enough for windsurfing, followed by Praia da Foca and Praia do Forno, which have colder water than the other beaches. Praia Olho de Boi (Bull’s Eye) is the area’s only nude beach. It’s reached by a little trail from the long, clean beach of Praia Brava.

On the north side of the peninsula, both João Fernandinho and João Fernandes are good for snorkeling, as are Azedinha and Azeda, reached by a short trail from Ossos. Praia dos Ossos, Praia da Armação, Praia do Canto and Praia dos Amores are lovely to look at, but a bit public and not so nice for lounging on. Praia das Virgens and Praia da Tartaruga are quiet and pretty. Praia de Manguinhos is another town beach further west.

Offshore, the islands of Âncora, Gravatás, Filhote and Feia are especially good diving destinations.