Cabana’s Best of Brasil – Best Beaches in Rio
“Tall and tanned and young and lovely…”
Any beach with a song named after it (the catchy “Girl From Ipanema”) has got to be pretty special, and Ipanema certainly seems to be the place where the young and beautiful go to see and be seen. Set in the shadow of the Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain), this glamourous praia (beach) has plenty of action: volleyball, football and water sports and are all going on at the waterfront, whilst countless vendors tread the sand selling everything from books to beers to beach towels. The beach is defined by the numbered postos (lifeguard towers) which mark up the beach and have fiercely loyal “tribes,” so whether you’re a family, student, stoner or yuppie you’ll find your perfect spot.
“At the Copa, Copa Cabana…”
Ok, we promise that not every Rio beach has a song about it (although confusingly this one’s about a bar in Havana and not the beach itself), but it just so happens that Brasil’s other most famous beach will also have you humming.
Despite flanking Rio’s most popular residential area, this four kilometre stretch of sand has beautiful views of Rio’s famous Sugar Loaf Mountain, instantly reminding you you’re not far from the Amazon. Take a stroll along the promenade, Avenida Atlantica and you may recognise the iconic mosaic tiles – we’ve replicated the design in many of our restaurants.
There’s plenty to do in Copacabana, whether it’s bronzing, people watching or surfing in the stunning turquoise waters (the best place for the latter is the middle section, where the sand and the waves are the most dramatic). There are plenty of beach side kiosks to cool down with a drink, snack or Caipirinha cocktail, and you may even find yourself part of a spur of the moment dance party!
As the sun goes down, it’s worth dropping in for a drink at the legendary Copacabana Palace, the white behemoth of a hotel which has been home to many an A-lister. But falling that, you’re only a short walk away from some of the best bars, restaurants and clubs the city has to offer.
Across a canal from Ipanema lies Leblon beach, servicing an area with some of Brasil’s swankiest real estate. It’s super relaxed: expect to find ex-footballers and young families rubbing shoulder to shoulder: Baixo Baby, near posto 12, is a kid’s play area replete with plenty of kid’s beach toys and activities, whilst the beach itself is calm enough for avid volley ball and beach tennis players to do their thing. The water near the mouth of the canal can get a bit murky, so most people hang our near postos 11 and 12.
Barra da Tijuca
Barra da Tijuca holds the title of being Rio’s longest beach, a massive twelve kilometres, which perhaps helps detract from the fact that the surrounding area is a rather dismal stretch of shopping malls and condos. The rough surf and strong currents makes it a favourite spot for both kite surfing, body boarding, and traditional surfing, and these excellent conditions will also make it home to many of the water sports held during the summer games.
There are surf schools dotted along the beach if you fancy trying your hand, or if you’re a regular “surfer dude” then head to Barraca de Pepê (Pepê’s Shack) where all the cool kids hang out.
Praia do Flamengo
Some call Flamengo Beach “Rio’s best kept secret,” and at first glance it might be hard to see why: the water is murkier than it’s more glamourous sisters and has never been “officially” cleared for swimming, and you can only swim when the current is coming in. But stop to relax and you’ll see Flamengo is all about the beach, rather than sea, vibe. There are great views of Sugarloaf, it’s set within a nature park full of myriads of tropical plants and birds, and on holidays and weekends you’ll find families and locals spilling onto the super clean sand with picnics and music in tow.
The best part is, it’s largely tourist free, so make like a Carioca (Rio local) and join the party!
Cabana’s CopaCABANA Pop-Up!
Ok, ok, so it’s not strictly in Rio, but if, like us, you’re one of the mere mortals who can’t make it to Rio this Summer, then head to our pop-up on London’s iconic South Bank, where we’ll be bringing you a taste of Rio beach life all Summer long.
Join us from 11am daily until the end of September and soak up the beach vibes with our very own stretch of sand, sip a Caipirinha from our “posto” life guard post (the real Copacabana has 12 “postos,” so we’ve created number 13 ;-)) or grab some food from our “Bonde” Food Tram, which recreates the famous yellow tram which brings passengers back and forth from the hills of Rio’s Santa Teresa. With your feet in the sand, a classic Caipirinha in one hand and some of our Spicy Malagueta Chicken in the other, you’ll feel like a Carioca in no time! Tudo Bem!
Check out our CopaCABANA pop-up HERE