Búzios, the little finger of Brazil that juts into the Atlantic, hit the headlines when Brigitte Bardot arrived there in the 1960’s. Two and a half hours from Rio by car, or a 1-hour flight, Búzios has been a resort magnet since then for hip Brazilians and even hipper Europeans …so… Americans, listen up! . Dune buggies, good food (dinners begin at 10, 11 p.m.), great drinks, fishing villages, sambas, surfers and sugar beaches, and … TAH TAH …amazingly low prices.

Best bed: check out the 33-room simple, stylish and charming Casas Brancas, complete with restaurant and spa. For info and good hotel pix: La Datco Tours.

A Dig-it-yourself Spa?

Originally discovered by Captain James Cook in 1769 and today cited as one of the top beaches in the world (surfers love it,) Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island is geo-thermally busy.  For two hours before and after low tide, you can create your own personal spa pool by digging in the sand for hot spring water.  As the tide comes in, cooler waves trickle over the hot pools, and there you have it … and dug by you.

Click and look for Mercury Bay.