Escape to Búzios
When Brigitte Bardot first went to Búzios in 1964, it was a scruffy little fishing village with miles of deserted beach. When Mick Jagger arrived in 1976, Búzios had still never seen a limousine...or a rock star. These days, though, celebrities and limos—not to mention helicopters, infinity pools, ceviche, and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses—are commonplace in what has become one of Brazil's most glamorous beach towns. And, yes, you can still find unspoiled beaches: Búzios, 110 miles from Rio, has more than 20 fabulous strips of white sand.
The Rio-based company Team flies private planes and 19-passenger air taxis on weekends from Rio's Santos Dumont Airport. The trip takes 25 minutes and a private plane costs $4,000 round-trip. 55-21/2117-8326; voeteam.com.br
Where to Stay
Pousada Casas Brancas is the town's chicest boutique hotel. The restaurant is where plugged-in locals head for Med- iterranean fusion; the spa does nine kinds of massages and a whole battery of body treatments. Book one of the seafront suites: They have wonderful terraces overlooking Búzios Bay. From $245 to $415. At 10 Alto do Humaitá; 55-22/2623-1458; casasbrancas.com.br.
An offshoot of the Rio seafood kitchen, Satyricon serves the catch of the day—superbly prepared—to a glittering crowd that includes, from time to time, ultra- recognizable faces (fittingly, the restaurant is in the Orla Bardot area). Satyricon runs its own fleet of fishing boats to make sure dishes like the snapper with a sea-salt crust are as fresh as can be. Dinner, $110. At 500 Avda. José Ribeiro Dantas; 55-22/2623-1595.
For lunch, Chez Michou on Rua das Pedras is packed with locals who come for the French-style crêpes. By sundown the place is a lively bossa nova and samba joint, where gorgeous beachlings come to flirt and show off their tans. Beer flows and caipirinhas go bottoms up as the party spills onto the street and migrates to spots like Pátio Havana and Anexo's, two jazz bars a few blocks away. Lunch, $10. At 90 Rua das Pedras; 55-22/ 2623-2169; chezmichou.com.br.
Everything you could want to buy is right on Rua das Pedras. You don't even need addresses—just stroll. You'll find branches of such fashion houses as Osklen, Lenny Niemeyer, and Richards (the latter is one of our favorite men's stores anywhere for basics and beachy stuff). Tucked among those boutiques are a handful of good antiques and design shops. The best is Divina Comédia, selling chandeliers, objets d'art, and a wide range of quirky old treasures.
The Reserva Tauá nature conservancy, near Praia Rasa, contains 300 types of butterflies, 27 varieties of orchids, and dozens of tropical birds. There are also a few golden lion tamarins, small monkeys whose black heads are framed with a lustrous reddish-gold coat. The species lives in coastal rainforests and is nearly extinct. Reservations required; 55-22/9218-7540; reservataua.com.br.