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Rio`s beaches

There are few cities that have a beach as their main attraction, but Rio de Janeiro has several. And no 2 beaches are alike: some are great for surfing, others for partying and then there are beaches for simply kicking back in the sun with a good book. Rio's beaches are the playground of the busy city.

Of course there is Copacabana Beach – named after the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel – one of the most famous urban beaches in the world. More than half a million 'Cariocas' (inhabitants of Rio) flock here on the weekend to relax. Fit playboys play beach volleyball and ladies in string bikinis stroll along the ocean. Copacabana is the place for sports, sunbathing, flirting and dancing.

Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach


Ipanema Beach

Sunset at Ipanema

The 2-kilometre-long white sandy beach of Ipanema is very pleasant. The street behind the beach boulevard is lined with designer boutiques and bars that serve up the famous caipirinha cocktails. Visit the Garota de Ipanema Bar (originally named Bar Veloso); this is the place where Tom Jobim was inspired to write the lyrics for the world-famous hit ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. The beach is not only famous for this summer hit and the lively boulevard: Ipanema also boasts the most beautiful sunset in Rio. Join the crowds at Arpoador to watch the sun disappear as the last rays of light hit Sugarloaf Mountain.

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Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

The high waves of Prainha

A short drive outside the centre of Rio de Janeiro is the surf Mecca of Prainha, which means small beach. This unspoilt beach is part of a nature reserve and has not (yet) been overrun by tourists. It has a crescent moon shape and is framed on both sides by steep rocks. This creates a strong current with high waves that are particularly popular with local surfers.

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Surf Mecca Prainha

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Prainha, Rio de Janeiro
Grumari Beach: surrounded by nature

The hidden jewel of Grumari

About an hour drive from Copacabana lies the hidden jewel of Grumari. Just like Prainha, this 3-kilometre-long sandy beach is part of a nature reserve. Surrounded by tall green hills and immense rock formations, Grumari is completely isolated from civilization. Locals come here to escape the hectic city. Not far from the beach is the old fishing village Guaratiba where local restaurants serve up fresh fish for lunch.

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Grumari, Rio de Janeiro

Surfing at Arpoador

Arpoador Beach is known as one of the best surf spots in Rio de Janeiro. Surfers from around the world bring their boards to Arpoador’s rough waves. The waves break on the large rocks and may reach heights of 7 to 10 meters. The rock formation offers a fabulous view of the city and the nearby mountains. In the evening the rocks of Arpoador attract many young couples who come here to enjoy a romantic sunset.

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Sunset at Arpoador

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Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro

Photo credits

  • Surf Mecca Prainha: Flickr, rodrigo levy
  • Grumari Beach: surrounded by nature: Andre Durao, Shutterstock
  • Sunset at Arpoador: Flickr, Luís Lopes