Buzios (pronounced BOO-zee-ohs) is a pricey, attractive resort area jutting into the Atlantic on the Cabo Frio Peninsula 125 mi/200 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro. The resort is made up of three settlements (Armacao, Ossos and Manguinhos) surrounded by nearly 30 idyllic beaches ranging from long, wide and crowded sweeps of sand to small secluded coves. Watersports include surfing, windsurfing at Ferradura (Horseshoe) Beach, snorkeling (Joao Fernandes and Joao Fernandinho beaches) and swimming. Sunbathers can avoid tan lines at Azeda and Azedinha, the resort's two topless beaches.

A tiny fishing village completely off the beaten track, Buzios was "discovered" by French actress Brigitte Bardot when she was touring the area in the 1960s, and it has been popular for years with wealthy Brazilians and Europeans. Development is continuing at a controlled pace: New buildings have a height limit of two stories and are designed to blend in with local surroundings—a neat trick for million-dollar villas in what was once a fishing village. Most lodging is in small pousada-style accommodations. Book as far in advance as possible, because it can get busy.

As befits an upscale resort, there are many fine shops and excellent restaurants (international and Brazilian cuisine). Be sure to sample grilled fish, fresh from the sea, on the beach—it's a special, inexpensive treat.

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