For an interesting alternative to Rio's city beaches, take the boat to the most beautiful island in the Guanabara Bay. ... More
Ilha de Paquetá
For an interesting alternative to Rio's city beaches, take the boat to the most beautiful island in the Guanabara Bay. Frequented mainly by local families, it can get a little crowded despite the fact that the water is too polluted for swimming. The island features many colonial buildings and souvenir shops. The Festa de São Roque in August is very popular. Ferries leave from downtown, near Praça XV de Novembro .
We visited the site almost 15 years ago; the island was in pristine condition: no litter, a clean and beautiful beach, kind and well-mannered locals.
We returned in January and were dismayed by how things changed.
Prices are downright abusive, for both national and foreign tourists. The streets are in a condition of great decay, litter is thrown and left anywhere, a slum now takes a good portion of the island, signposts are rare and those that can be seen have been vandalized, and the beach's waters prohibit swimming -- something becoming more and more common in all of Rio de Janeiro.
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this site for any of my friends anymore. Not in good conscience.
Paqueta is a charming island in the bay on which Rio de Janeiro is located. No vehicles are allowed on the island, and this alone speaks volumes about the experience you will have. The views are wonderful, the parks and beaches well tended and delightful, the atmosphere quiet. There are only a couple of restaurants (which is okay with me) but quite a number of artists' studios (also okay with me).
If you have a day to "spare" in Rio, this would be a worthwhile addition to your itinerary.
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