Straddling a spit of sand between a gorgeous lagoon and the open Atlantic, and crowned by a beautiful white church, Saquarema is a laid-back little town 100km east of Rio. Polluting industries are forbidden in the municipality; the waters are clean, and fish and shrimp are abundant.

Touted as the surfing capital of Brazil, Saquarema hosts world-class competitions every year and draws a steady stream of surf devotees to its two long main beaches, Praia Itaúna and Praia da Vila. its unmarred shoreline also attracts sportfishing enthusiasts and sun worshippers. Even so, the town remains less touristy than neighboring coastal resorts such as Búzios, making it an agreeable, off-the-beaten-track spot to kick back for a day or two.