Deu no NYT: Búzios is two hours by car from the city of Rio de Janeiro, but many visitors take a 20-minute helicopter ride to and from the city. There are several sheltered beaches on the inland side of the peninsula, but the eastern side's bigger waves provide good sport for surfers. Instead of driving, some visitors hire boats to take them from one beach to another. The area's main street, Rua das Pedras, is a popular nightspot and has many restaurants.
Demand from foreign buyers in Brazil has fallen off sharply in recent months, according to Donald Pearson, owner of Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty. He says investors are pulling money out of developing markets to cover losses elsewhere. Apartments in Ipanema, a popular Rio neighborhood, cost around $1,000 a square foot, but he expects prices to drop to $700 or $800 a square foot.
Foreigners can buy homes without restriction in Brazil. The legal aspects of a transaction are handled by a notary, whose fees range from 2 to 3 percent of the purchase price, he said. Buyers also pay a 3 percent transfer tax. A Brazilian tax identification number is required before property can be bought. Brazil's mortgage system is relatively robust despite the global credit crisis. Most foreign buyers are better off borrowing from a Brazilian branch of an international bank.