LIFE IN BRAZIL: BETWEEN THE MOUNTAIN AND THE SEA OF RIO DE JANEIRO

Rich with wonderful beaches and breathtaking panoramas, Rio de Janeiro is a real paradise for all lovers of nature.

Rio de Janeiro

Dream Beaches of The Marvelous City

Crystal-Clear Barra
Located in a posh neighbourhood in the West Zone of the city, Barra attracts surfers and families on weekends. The waves are relatively calm, making it an ideal place for a first-time surf. Eighteen km long, Barra is famous for its white sand, its clear waters and for being the cleanest beach in the country. A bicycle path runs along the beach.

You should know… Like every beach of this size and quality, Barra sees a lot of visitors over the weekend, especially on the eastern side, where the restaurants and snackbars are located.

Prainha – Natural Beauty
About as picturesque as they get, Prainha beach is known for its exotic and quiet – definitely a luxury in Rio – setting. Of all the beaches in Brazil, Prainha beach is the most spectacular with its rich tropical background. It is also a paradise for local surfers with 3-meter waves.

You should know… Prainha is best accessed by car, unless you care to walk for kilometers going up and down hillsides.

Mythical Copacabana
Touristic jewel of the city, Copacabana is called the Little Princess of the Sea. Set up against highrise buildings, its 4.5 kms are covered with golden sand, and it is a favourite of families, as well as tourists. Here, you’ll see a lot of beach soccer (i.e. football) and volleyball. You can also go for a walk on the Roberto Burle Marx promenade (4 km).

You should know… The neighbourhood here is mostly residential, so don’t look for too much glitter and glamour.

Pôr do Sol

Aristocratic Ipanema
Impossible to vacation in Rio without visiting the magical beach of Ipanema, located in the South Zone of Rio. Celebrated in Antonio Carlos Jobim’s classic Girl from Ipanema, it is the upscale counterpart of Copacabana. Highlights are its elegant setting, the two mountains (Dois Irmaos, Two Brothers) at its western end and, of course, its magical 2.6 km stretch of immaculate sand.

You should know… The area is full of elegant cocktail bars, restaurants, art galleries, and museums. And, strange as it may seem, you will even see fitness machines set up on the beach.

Family-Friendly Leblon
Named after the one-time owner of the place, Leblon is no doubt the most exclusive beach in Rio. Home of the rich and famous, it offers a quiet and pleasant setting. A great choice for families with children.

You should know… Leblon is Rio’s most secure beach.

Grumari, The Hidden Treasure
Located in the West Zone, Grumari is not a populated neighbourhood with less then 200 inhabitants. In fact, it is a municipal park with quiet beaches and forest in the background. A virgin and almost deserted paradise, except on weekends when it sees a flock of local families.

You should know… Nearby Guaratiba is a great place for excellent and inexpensive seafood.

Panoramic Rio

Corcovado
And how can we forget the ultimate symbol of Rio and even of Brazil – Corcovado mountain. With its famous statue of Jesus, it is no doubt one of the seven wonders of the modern world. From its 710m peak, the view on the Cidade Maravilhosa is literally breathtaking. To get there, you have to cross Tijuca Park, the world’s largest urban forest. A few options are available: taxi, railway or car.

You should know… No need to worry. Once at the top, you’ll find restaurants, restrooms, and souvenir boutiques.

Arpoador
Located between the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, this rocky peninsula creates great waves that attract surfers, but it is also famous for offering a superb view on Ipanema, the Two Brothers and one of the most beautiful sunsets. It is easily accessible from the beach.

You should know… The place is accessible at all times, even at night, and there are many cafes and stands to choose from.

Sunset at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janairo, Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain
An absolute must on a trip to Rio, Sugarloaf offers an unforgettable view of the city and its many beaches. To reach the summit (400 m), you take two cable cars, the first up mount Urca, the second from there to the top. The ride between the two is enchanting.

You should know… Mount Urca (220m) already offers a beautiful view of Guanabara Bay.

Pedra da Gavea
To reach the 865m summit of the “Rock of the Topsail”, a lot of stamina is required since you will have to do some hiking and a short climb up vertical walls. But the brave will be rewarded with the most impressive and complete panorama of Rio, encompassing Corcovado, Sao Conrado, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, Barra da Tijuca and Tijuca National Park. Impressive.

You should know… Pedra da Gavea is a 2 1/2- to 4-hour hike and requires you to be in good physical shape.