Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro – Image courtesy of adammonk.com
Introducing Ipanema Beach
Join the daily fun-filled carnival on this stunning stretch of white-sand beach made famous in the 1960s song The Girl from Ipanema. The hit was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Viní-cius de Morais about ‘the tall and tan and young and lovely girl’ they saw on Ipanema Beach.
Enjoy a caipirinha at the Velloso Bar on Vinícius de Morais Street where the two men watched the unforgettable girl on her daily trip to the beach, then join the golden brown sun-worshippers brushing up their tans.
Stretching almost 3km from the foot of the granite peaks of Pedra Dois Irmãos at the western end of the beach to the Ponta Arpoador at the eastern end, Ipanema is regarded as more sophisticated and relaxed than nearby Copacabana, also offering a family friendly ambience.
Expect to see beach games such as soccer, volleyball and footvollei (volleyball with no hands) – feel free to join in or simply watch. Cool off with a swim or head to the prime surf spot around Praia do Arpoador, a rock formation that separates Ipanema from its famous sister beach, Copacabana.
Rent a surfboard and ride the waves, improve your style with a lesson or just watch the local boys showing-off for the garotas (girls) sashaying along the beach. Join the locals over a beer, caipirinha or fresh coconut water while savouring grilled shrimps from one of the many boardwalk kiosks.
Like Copacabana, Ipanema Beach is unofficially divided into numbered postos (lifeguard stations): posto 9 is a hangout for artists, intellectuals and the young and beautiful; the area around posto 10 is a favourite for families; and the stretch of sand around posto 8 is popular with gay men.
Across the street sit mansions and restaurants protected by armed security guards. Ipanema’s expensive neighbourhood is packed with bars, clubs and world-class shopping boutiques. Browse for fine fashion, explore the Sunday market for cheap leather goods, jewellery and local bric-a-brac or check out the Babilônia Feira Hype at the Jockey Club in Gávea.
On Sunday, the beachfront Avenida Vieira Souto is closed to traffic and given over to strollers, skateboarders and roller bladers – perfect for a spot of people watching over a caipirinha.