Sun’s up, buns out!
Last summer in Rio de Janeiro, I lounged and soaked in the warm waters of Copacabana and Ipanema, two of the most beautiful and famous “bee-ches” in the world.
- Copacabana (At the Copa) Barry Manilow 5:42
Although I did not catch Barry Manilow at the beach, I did enjoy an evening stroll down Avenida Atlântica. This 4-kilometer strip has a wavy Portuguese pavement pattern. The beach itself runs 3 miles out from the densely populated residential area. Also, you’ll find Pão de Açúcar (also known as Sugarloaf Mountain or “sugar bread,” verbatim) standing heights above Copacabana.
Despite being one of the highest recommended tourist spots in the world, I have heard mixed reviews about Copacabana.
Proximity from shops, restaurants, and hotels is a huge perk. People watching is the next best thing after drinking caipirinhas or coconut water from fresh green coconuts while sunbathing or listening to live music. To my surprise, there are also many bicyclists and athletes playing pick-up games or exercising.
The biggest complaint that I have heard about the beach is that is can become overly congested and dirty. But isn’t that somewhat expected for a place occupying tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people daily?
When I hear the name Brazil, my brain automatically registers Copacabana; the two are nearly synonymous. Visiting this country but not this beach would be a crime. Speaking of which, I was not witness to any crime nor were any of my possessions stolen (however, I practically glued my hands and eyes on my camera equipment and other belongings during the entire stay). For safety precautions and peace of mind, I do recommend packing light when heading to the sand.
- The Girl From Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema) Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto feat. Astrud Gilberto 5:25
Personally, hearing this Grammy-winning classic almost instantly releases all of my tension and lands me right on the beach of Ipanema.
My personal favorite among the two, Ipanema is hands-down one of the sexiest beaches ever! Bustling with excitement and relinquishing of all worries, Ipanema is the perfect destination for creating an incredible beach experience.
The beach is loaded with barracas, or small beach tents, for renting chairs and umbrellas or purchasing food. Once lounging on the sand, vendors, or ambulantes, come left and right to sell you caipirinha, beer, shrimp, and other snacks.
Although you may not be able to tell from my poorly-shot video, the locals are absolutely stunning and not at all reserved to be sporting a speedo or g-string. What surprised me though was that many older good-looking men and women were also flaunting a lot of skin. Regardless, it’s refreshing to be surrounded with people that comfortable with their bodies.
Also, the neighboring mountain on the coastline, Morro Dois Irmãos, contributes further to the beauty that attracts people to Ipanema and Rio de Janeiro as a whole. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to visit the summit. Approximately 1 mile long, it’s a short excursion for overlooking Ipanema, Arpoador, São Conrado, and most of the city; a view I anticipate seeing soon.