Six kilometres south of Cabo Frio, ARRAIAL DO CABO nestles amongst more sand dunes, surrounded by hills. The beaches around Arraial do Cabo are some of the most beautiful in the state and are usually packed in high season. Praia dos Anjos is perfectly fine considering the area behind it is so built up, though you'd do much better by walking (15min) along a path over a steep promontory to the unspoilt Praia do Forno. A boat ride is required to reach the stunning Praia do Pontal and the Ilha de Cabo Frio , a small, pristine island with powdery white beaches, sand dunes and superb views from its 390-metre peak (boats leave from Praia dos Anjos and charge around R$30 per person for a four-hour excursion). Another attractive beach is Prainha, which has the advantage of shade but can get crowded as it's easily reached by car. Even so, the water is beautiful and it's easy to ignore the people around you.
Arraial do Cabo is a much more attractive place to stay than overdeveloped Cabo Frio, but has little in the way of budget accommodation . Your best bet is to make for Praia dos Anjos: the Estalagem do Porto (Tel:22/2622-2892, Web: www.estalagemdoporto.com.br ; R$181-260) is a comfy place with rooms sleeping up to six people; Capitão n'Areia (Tel:22/2622-2720, Web: www.capitaopousada.com.br ; R$121-180) is a similar but rather prettier pousada, with the added attraction of a pool. Also at Praia dos Anjos, there's an excellent youth hostel at Rua Bernardo Lens 145 (Tel:22/2622-4060, Web: www.marinadosanjos.com.br ), with dorms (R$40) as well as private rooms that sleep two people (members R$71-120, non-members R$121-180).