Whatever you do...do not hit the Rua de Perata until after midnight.
After the witching hour the entire street is bursting at the seams. People spill from bars, dance to samba, parade in bikinis and drink cocktails in the street. Music throbs from pulsating bars, people dine alfresco and South Americans from all over the continent--usually the rich variety--ogle the expensive shops, dodge the beach buggies and admire the beautiful people.
During the day of course, it is completely different. From morning to early afternoon it is recovering from a hangover. The holiday makers are lounging on the beaches while the waiters and barmen set up for the night ahead. A few desolate tourists might wander around the boutiques and galleries but as the sun beats down on the gigantic cobblestones, sunglasses are brought over the eyes and most head back to their pousadas for an afternoon nap around the swimming pool. And the Rua de Perata gets ready for another night of debauchery.
This 'Stone Street' is the main drag of Buzios. It runs parallel to the beach and is one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Brazil, matching Rio's Barra di Tijuca and Leblon prices. If you start from its western section (and yes, a Bob's burger has made inroads here, probably the cheapest food in Buzios) and head east you will get the most from the Rua. At the intersection is a Catholic church, a relic when Buzios used to be a fishing village. Each night about 8:00pm, before the discos start up, gospel singing can be heard in the interior. If you poke your head around the door a guitarist leads the congregation. This seems to jar against the wealthy glamour of Brazil's St Tropez and is one of the few places in Buzios where you can meet the original inhabitants.
Next door is a superb Internet cafe only costing two reals for an hour. Across the cobblestones are the start of the boutiques with pencil-line bikinis and the latest fashionable clothes. At this point there are still tiny alleys leading to the beach (see photo). This is one of the few surviving features of village Buzios. The Armacao beach, which is closest to town is the most unused and still resembles a working beach with fishing boats drawn up on the shore. It stretches for a kilometers along a large bay broken up by rocky jungle headlands. Fishing boats bob in the water and dogs trot up and down the beach. The rocky island of Ilha Cabaldo stands just offshore and the whole of Buzios is spread out in a crescent.
The beach meets Rua de Perata at the working jetty. From here boat trips are available to explore the Cabio peninsula which is always covered with divers, tourists, and fisherman. Further on, as the bay curves to the south, is another vast beach. A paved esplanade follows its curve and passes dive shops, beachbuggy hire, and Thai restaurants. As you look over the the water there is a statue of three black fishermen pulling in the nets (see intro). At high tide the sea covers these figures and they are there to symbolize Buzios' humble past. Completely unlike the statue at the end of the trail--Brigitte Bardot. This stretch of path is called the Orla Bardot and the statue looks nothing like her. Very quiet and demure with hands gently on lap.
Then back to the beach and the Rua de Perata. The range of restaurants is incredible here--you can eat Mexican, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Thai and even traditional Portuguese/Brazilian. Seafood is Buzios' speciality, though it doesn't come cheap. Also worth exploring are the number of 'Arco's' (arcades) each one filled with designer shops. 'Ra-ka-ta-ka-ta' is a very weird bar with cheap pina coladas. The barman here is very amusing and has the strangest accent I have ever heard--part Brazilian, part Indian, part Caribbean with a little touch of cockney thrown in. He wouldn't tell us where he was originally from but had decided to settle in Buzios. According to him he lives in paradise, who are we to disagree...