RIO BRAZIL: THE CITY, THE BEACHES AND THE
RIO BEACHES: COCACABANA, IPANEMA, LEBLON, BARRA
Looking for a Subtropical Beach + Cosmopolitism + Nightlife + Animation package?
If this is the case, consider Rio de Janeiro and nearby resorts as Buzios and Angra dos Reis. They are among the best beaches in Brazil. These are the places...
Rio de Janeiro lives from and to its beaches, in a degree unknown elsewhere, and Copacabana embodies this spirit. Copacabana beach is at the heart of Rio’s life and spirit, with plenty of accommodation, restaurants and hot nightlife places. For those who want not only beach life but also friendly people and music, parties, volley, sports, city life, Copacabana is an inevitable option to consider..
But there are other options in Rio. If you want the soft white sand and the blue water of Copacabana, and its music and opportunities, but also a more relaxed and family ambiance, then consider Ipanema and Leblon. These twin beaches are just a mile south; you can always visit Copacabana, from there.
Another option is the Barra beaches, further south and distant from Rio’s centre but, yet, near enough Rio’s main attractions. They don’t have the busy and intense spirit of traditional Rio’s beaches, but they are less crowded (at workdays), offer good animation at night, and aren’t far from other Rio options.
The beauties of Rio
«During the remainder of my stay at Rio, I resided in a cottage at Botafogo Bay. It was impossible to wish for anything more delightful than thus to spend some weeks in a so magnificent country». Guanabara Bay «exceeds in its magnificence everything the European has seen in his native land».
Those expressive laudations to Rio de Janeiro and its bay were written in the nineteenth century by… Charles Darwin. But Rio is, nowadays, more than the natural beauties Charles Darwin described – abrupt mountains covered by a luxuriant tropical forest, a coloured ocean, a special luminosity, a marvellous bay and beaches, or the Sugarloaf and the Corcovado. The actual Rio de Janeiro is also the joy of its people, with its special way of facing life («life is a moment, live for today»), and its music and nightlife. Rio is a very musical and sensual city, in many ways. Undoubtedly, a city with a soul of its own, and an obligatory destination for those who love to travel.
VACATIONS IN RIO BEACHES?
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SOME BASIC FACTS ABOUT RIO
Here are some basic facts about Rio:
- The financial and historic centre is the Centro, or downtown.
- Downtown beaches are polluted and no more suitable for swimming.
- Today’s beaches begin more at south, with Leme Beach and Copacabana.
- Copacabana and Ipanema are major beach and fun references. They are two top beaches, with many adjacent restaurants, bars, shopping centres, animation, music, fun… They embody the spirit of Rio de Janeiro.
- If you like fun, music and people watching, Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon beaches - and the adjacent streets - are the main references.
- Barra de Tijuca (or simply Barra), with its more distant set of beaches, is also a fine option, especially for surf lovers. If it is the case, think in the Tijuca beaches: they are among the best beaches in Brazil, and are very little crowded at weekdays.
For more information, see:
Maps of Rio de Janeiro – Beaches in Brazil
Books about Rio de Janeiro
TRIPS AND TOURS IN RIO CITY, BEACHES AND NEARBY
The downtown area of Rio (the centro) contains the city oldest neighbourhoods, churches, museums, cafés, bars, restaurants, and other historical sights. But most of the tourism and beach zones are located at more southern zones.
Most of social life and daily outings of «cariocas» are spent in the beach, or near the beach, amid music. That’s the spirit of Rio and of many beaches in Brazil. The beaches – and the restaurants, bars and public places around them – aren’t just a daily fun and diversion centre. They are the very heart of social intercourse. Even many business acts occur in those areas.
If you want to sense the spirit of Rio de Janeiro you must spend a day in Copacabana. Take a walk from Avenida Atlantica till Ipanema and Leblon, further south. Eat in one of the many small restaurants of those places, in two of the best beaches in Brazil. Ipanema and Leblon offer a great number of good small restaurants and bars.
Other highlights and trips:
Prominent granite mountain, standing at the entrance of Guanabara bay. Sugar Loaf offers an astonishing view of the city and the Guanabara bay. It’s an icon. The views that Sugar Loaf allows are indeed exceptional.
Another icon and landmark of Rio, where the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer stands.
See: Nearby attractions: Buzios, Angra dos Reis, Parati and Petropolis
For tours in Rio region, see:
Rio de Janeiro ecological tours
Rio Hotels - Brazil travel guide with accommodation, lodging and travel tips, guides, weather, news, discount hotels and more...
For information about entertainment and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, see:
Eating, Shopping, Nightlife and Entertainment in Rio de Janeiro
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
RIO ECOLOGICAL TOURS: BETWEEN THE BRAZILIAN BEST
There are some interesting ecological places near Rio and its outskirts:
Tijuca forest national park is the world’s largest urban forest. It covers 3,200 hectares, and is just some kilometres from central Rio de Janeiro. Tijuca is the home of hundreds of rare species of plants and wildlife. Its attractions include the Cascatinha Waterfall, the Mayrink
Chapel, the Excelsior Lookout Point, the Paul and Virginia Grotto, and the Fairy
Lake. The jeep is, probably, the best means of transport to explore this
unexpected Rio’s wonder.
Right in the heart of Guanabara Bay, Paquetá is a semi-tropical island with no motorized vehicles: just bikes and horse-drawn carriages, and very few streets and no noise. It’s largely unpolluted, has excellent beaches, an interesting flora and fauna, and nice optional trips: visit to Pedra da Moreninha (Moreninha Rock) or to Darke de Mattos Park, for instance.
Botanical Gardens are an ecological sanctuary, housing rare species of tropical flora and fauna. It has six lakes with endemic species of lily, lotus, or papyrus. Friar Leandro’s Lake, recently restored, is spectacular. Wild animals and resident birds – as the “curiós” or the “sabiás” -, are a constant presence, but the flora is yet more remarkable: it has approximately 8,200 specimens of trees and plants (bromeliads, violets, the biggest Brazilian cacti collection, medicinal plants…) and even a greenhouse of insect-eating plants.
Burle Marx Site
Burl Marx Site is a legacy of an important Brazilian botanist (Robert Burl Marx). The grounds and house of this site stand in Barra da Guaratiba, a few kilometres from Rio centre, and shelters over 3,500 threatened and rare species of plants. It also offers a great variety of cultural activities, and a nice art collection.
TOURS IN RIO?
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SOME OF THE BEST BRAZILIAN BEACHES AND RESORTS ARE NEAR RIO: BUZIOS, PETROPOLIS, ANGRA DOS REIS AND PARATI
Buzios is a charming peninsula with a small town (Armação de Buzios), 2 hours drive from Rio de Janeiro, with 20 unspoiled beaches and many handicraft stores, boutiques, restaurants, bars and a selected ambient.
Buzios is a kind of Saint Tropez in a South American version, known worldwide. Its beaches - Geribá, Ferruda, Ossos… - are excellent for swimming, diving, resting, windsurfing, sailing... They are, undoubtedly among the best beaches in Brazil, for those who privilege cosmopolitism.
Angra dos Reis
Also near Rio de Janeiro, halfway between Rio and São Paulo, stands a much larger peninsula with 365 small islands, broad bays, 2,000 white and golden sandy beaches, small villages, lovely hotels, restaurants, villas, clubs, and, between them, an unspoiled, selected and expensive treasure: Angra dos Reis. As Buzios, Angra stands amongst the best and the costly of Brazil destinies: celebrity costs…
Angra dos Reis stays at a peninsula called Costa Verde (Green Coast), somewhere between Rio and São Paulo. This is a delightful destination, with amazing forests, waterfalls, lakes, small fishing villages, secret coves (Angra dos Reis means King’s Cove) and 365 small islands and 2,000 small beaches – and also many resort hotels, villas and restaurants.
Here you can fish and dive, or explore the walking trails of the Ilha Grande (the main island), giving access to some isolated and top beaches (Canto, Morcego…). You can also enjoy the delights of the zone by boat, schooner, or yacht. Or go to popular surfers beaches, as Aventureiro, a reference among the many «surfable» beaches in Brazil.
Near Angra dos Reis, Parati is a huge demonstration of the ancient colonial Portuguese architecture. Unesco has classified the entire place as a world heritage site. Besides, it’s a top place, among the best beaches in Brazil, ant the very sophisticated Costa Verde.
VACATIONS IN RIO/PARATI/ANGRA DOS REIS/BUZIOS?
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Petropolis is a tiny mountain town just 31 miles/50 Kms from Rio de Janeiro, where the ancient Brazilian royal family used to look for a much cooler environment to pass their summers. The Imperial Museum (once the summer palace) and its jewellery and artwork collections are an obligatory piece of the visit.
Hotel information and booking:
Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Hotels in Angra dos Reis
Hotels in Buzios
Information about air flights and booking:
General information about flights to Brazil
Flights to Rio de Janeiro
OPPORTUNITIES IN RIO: GOLF, SURF, BIKE
Brazilians love playing soccer and volleyball or do jogging on the beach… But, besides this sporty beach activity or the amenities allowed by top hotels, Rio de Janeiro offers excellent opportunities for sports like biking, surf or golf.
For biking, try Tijuca Forest, and its tracks.
For surfing, Ipanema is an excellent option, but some beaches of Barra, just some kilometres southward, are even better: beaches as Prainha are a paradise for surf lovers.
For golf in Rio de Janeiro (and others destinations in Brazil), see:
Sports in Brazil: Golf
For more information about sports in Brazil:
Sports in Brazil
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