Rio de Janeiro Beach Walk (Self Guided), Rio de Janeiro

The Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are two of the main reasons Rio is so famous around the world. While Copacabana is a year-round tourist hub, famed for its incredible New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Ipanema and Leblon neighborhoods have the cleanest, safest, most beautiful beaches in the city, and are the favorite playgrounds of Rio de Janeiro’s upper-middle class.

Start your tour with a stroll through Copacabana’s white sandy beach, which has the advantage of being flatter and easier to get in for a swim. Great restaurants running all the way along, and the staff provide great service on a lounger if you’re feeling lazy and fancy a few refreshments. The design mainly adopts an open and spacious walking path, with sidewalks mainly featuring abstract flowing patterns and mosaic blocks used as paving materials. From a high altitude, it is a series of continuous abstract patterns, naturally flowing and without repetition.

If you want quiet sea, there is a headland called Arpoador between Copacabana and Ipanema which is a lovely spot to watch the sunset while sipping on a cocktail. You will find Ipanema to be generally more relaxed; a smaller beach from sidewalk to the water, with all the comforts of “home on the beach” – including rental chairs, umbrellas, ice cold beer – as well as many surfing opportunities.

Finally, Leblon beach is essentially the same as Ipanema, but divided by a little creek and somewhat more upscale, as demonstrated by some of the higher-end hotels and bars in the vicinity. It’s also much quieter than Copacabana, though you will still see people playing football, working out and playing other sports.

Take our self-guided walking tour to discover these picturesque beaches and waterfront strips that will make for an unforgettable experience in Rio.
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Rio de Janeiro Beach Walk Map

Guide Name: Rio de Janeiro Beach Walk
Guide Location: Brazil » Rio de Janeiro (See other walking tours in Rio de Janeiro)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 4
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: gene
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Copacabana Beach
  • Arpoador Beach
  • Ipanema Beach
  • Leblon Beach
1
Copacabana Beach

1) Copacabana Beach (must see)

Copacabana Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. At more than three miles long, the white sand of Copacabana Beach is a popular spot for tourists and locals to bask in the sun, enjoy the warm water of the Atlantic Ocean or people watch.

Though the history of the region can be traced back hundreds of years, it was primarily a fishing village through the late 19th century. It wasn't until 1923, when the Copacabana Palace Hotel was constructed, that its destiny as a hot spot for tourist activity was sealed.

At the time that the hotel was built, Copacabana Beach was only a thin line of sand that hugged the Atlantic. Tourists mostly visited the region for nightlife and gambling. That changed in the 1970s when a landfill created the large expanse of beach that exists today.

The beach stretches from Leme Beach to the historic Fort Copacabana. It is accompanied by Avenida Atlantica and a promenade with a unique black-and-white wave pattern. Those walking along the promenade will find easy access to restaurants, snack stands and beach bars. They can also rent beach equipment like umbrellas and chairs.

Along with the sand, tourists can take advantage of outdoor art and historic monuments. The beach is home to statues like the statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, the statue of Dorival Caymmi and an army museum that is near Fort Copacabana.

Copacabana Beach is open 24-hours per day. It is policed, well-lit and has a steady lifeguard presence. It is also active with musicians, party-goers and beach lovers both day and night.

Why You Should Visit
- To see one of the world's top-rated beaches
- To experience a true beach party atmosphere
- To relax in the sun

Tips
Atlantica Avenue is closed along the beach on Sundays and holidays to allow pedestrians to have a safer and easier trip to the beach. However, this does make Sundays a more popular day for throngs of tourists to visit.
2
Arpoador Beach

2) Arpoador Beach

Only minutes away from Copacabana Beach is Arpoador Beach. Unlike the serene waters of Copacabana, Arpoadar is known for large breaking waves that can easily reach 10 feet in height. This beach is popular for surfers and those who love to watch water sports in action.

Arpoadar is also very popular for visitors. The peninsula, called The Rock, juts out over the Atlantic, offering breathtaking views of the water. Lucky visitors may be able to see the sunset over the ocean if they can secure a place among the many tourists who wish to take advantage of the unique perspective.

Visitors can rent surfboards at Arpoadar Beach. They can even take lessons from skilled surfers who are adept at navigating the massive waves. The surf schools, like the beach, are open 24 hours, seven days per week.

Arpoadar is located between Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. The small beach is easy to find and well worth the stop.
3
Ipanema Beach

3) Ipanema Beach (must see)

Ipanema Beach is known as one of the most refined beaches in Rio. This is largely due to the influence of the Ipanema neighborhood. Ipanema offers its own private educational institutions, museums and high-priced real estate. Because of this, the locals visiting Ipanema tend to be sophisticated and artsy.

The beach still draws its fair share of surfers and sunbathers. Beach sports are popular at Ipanema as well. Volleyball and football are so popular at the beach that a new sport, footvolley, was created to combine the two.

Ipanema has long been a beach that has drawn the artistic types, but it became a worldwide sensation when the song "The Girl from Ipanema" reached acclaim in 1962.

One of the most popular activities at Ipanema Beach occurs each evening. Locals and tourists gather at the beach to watch the sunset. Many bow to the sunset, but most clap their hands in joy as they watch the sun sink into the Atlantic Ocean.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful beach – fun to swim at, hang out, or play a game of volleyball. The sand is soft and the water is clear. Plenty of vendors nearby to take care of all of your food, drink, and seating needs. The beach is clean, safe (but beware of thieves) and well lighted 24/7.
4
Leblon Beach

4) Leblon Beach

Leblon Beach, like the neighborhood where it is located, was named for Carlos Leblon. The whaling emprasario was instrumental in establishing the area in the mid-1800s.

The Leblon district is a wealthy one. This is reflected along the beach where tourists will see gourmet restaurants, high-end bars and boutiques that cater only to the wealthiest clients.

Leblon Beach is much quieter than its local counterparts. The low-key atmosphere makes it the ideal location for those who want to enjoy the sun and sand without distraction. It is also popular among families with young children thanks to an enclosed playground.

At the end of the beach are observation decks called Mirante do Leblon and Mirador Leblon. The deck offers excellent views of the Leblon and Ipanema Beaches. There are also convenient beach bars nearby that let tourists enjoy the view with a drink in hand.

Like many of the other beaches in Rio. Leblon Beach is open 24 hours, seven days per week.

Why You Should Visit:
There are epic views of the "Two Brothers" rock formation (Dois Irmãos) and Arpoador – but generally, a good choice if you're more interested in personal space than people watching.

Tip:
Make sure you try a "água de côco" at least once, as there's something fantastic about sitting on a beach in South America drinking from a coconut that's just been cut open.

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