Rio de Janeiro beaches are undeniably the most popular of all urban beaches in Brazil. They exemplify a healthy, undying beach culture relentless in its love for sand, water, and relaxation. Inviting to tourists for their magnificent natural qualities and perfectly convenient for their abundant amenities, Rio beaches have so much going for them that missing a visit could mean missing the classic Brazilian experience.
Leblon Beach is separated from Ipanema Beach by a channel relatively small in size. Set in the center of Rio, Leblon exudes charm, offers scores of boutiques, bars, and restaurants, and is a popular spot for all ages, but especially with families because of the designated play area. Rio’s elite live and frequent the west side of Leblon where homes and apartments are large and modern. Leblon is one of the most down-to-earth Rio beaches and a great place to party in the evenings and at night.
Ipanema is certainly one of the most popular of all Rio de Janeiro beaches offering the perfect mix of everything. There are hotels and restaurants, bars, and shops, and a huge beach to enjoy day and night. People watching is one of the best spectator sports there is on Ipanema—check out all the football and volleyball games, take in a full account of Ipanema’s culture with a stroll from one hotel-lined end to the other, or just admire the beauty of the people who tend to frequent this area.
Copacabana is the quintessential Brazilian beach, and one harboring everything Brazil is famous for—restaurants with excellent food, colorful locals selling wares, exciting street performers, premium Brazil hotels, and a seemingly endless stretch of powdery sand fringing clear, blue water. Though Copacabana is one of the most crowded Rio beaches on weekends and holidays, it also offers an experience not to be missed.
Between Copacabana and Ipanema, Arpoador is renowned as a surfing destination. There are many Brazil hotels here, though not as many as in nearby Ipanema and Copa. There is a small and pretty park fringing Aproador Beach offering trekking along hiking trails that meander up throughout the hilly areas and rocky points where a great view of the beach and surfers are the rewards.
Sao Conrado Beach
Next to Leblon Beach, Sao Conrado is easily the most relaxed, and least crowded of all Rio de Janeiro Beaches. Hang Gliding is the most popular of all things to do here while surfing takes second place. Hiking up to Pedra da Gavea rock for great views, sunbathing along the beach or dining in one of the upscale neighborhood cafes or restaurants are other possible activities. Because of the large swells so beloved by surfers, swimming is a cautionary pursuit.
Barra da Tijuca is by far the longest in Rio and also one of the most popular. More than ten miles long, this beach offers both pleasantly crowded areas and secluded ones too. Swimming is good, yet currents can sometimes be powerful so caution is recommended. Water sports abound, and the local surfing school is a great place for instruction. Natural attractions include Barra da Tijuca National Park Marapendi Lake and Ecological Reserve, and the bio-reserve at the very end of the beach called Prainha.