Brazilians refer to Rio de Janeiro as “Cidade Maravilhosa” or The Wonderful City and rightly so. The place is always filled to the brim with rhythm, color, sound, and joy. All these make this Brazilian city a hub for merrymaking. It’s noteworthy that very few places in the world can match the hospitality and natural charm in which Rio de Janeiro is perpetually swathed.
The city is squeezed into a narrow zone right smack cliffs rife with rainforests and the sea. Think of Rio de Janeiro as an artery that pulses with life amidst its setting, which many have aptly dubbed as ‘the world’s most beautiful city setting’.
One of the most striking features of the city is its plentiful beaches. Rio’s beaches seem to have been handcrafted by nature. Lush landscapes, waves that beckon surfers, attractive sand dunes, rows of coconut trees along the sandy coast, long stretches of multi-colored sands, colorful corals, and serene beaches – all these make up the outstanding and breathtaking design of Rio de Janeiro’s coastline. Little wonder, then, that the city is renowned worldwide for its urban beaches.
Copacabana is one of Rio’s beaches that has made quite a name for itself. In fact, Barry Manilow has a song with the same title that tells the story of a showgirl at the Copacabana hotel named Lola. Incidentally, there really is a Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio. This beach was where every tourist trooped to not so long ago.
However, over the last few years, Ipanema Beach emerged as one of the most sought-after Brazilian beaches. Actually, the real hip ‘cariocas’ (people who live in Rio) have been hanging out in Ipanema Beach since the 1960s, but it was only in recent years when it became a popular tourist destination.
Ipanema is very near Copacabana Beach, but unlike its neighbor that has seen a decline over the years, the former is thriving. It is now considered one of the most luxurious places in Rio de Janeiro with world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes that only add to the elegance and glamour of the place.
Dois Irmãos, which means Two Brothers, are two mountains that rise at the west end of Ipanema Beach. These mountains are among the most striking features of the beach. These two mountains are further divided into segments or informal sections called ‘postos’ or lifeguard towers. Your choice of ‘posto’, meaning your choice of hangout place, would highly depend on your preference since each one has something unique to offer tourists.
For instance, Posto 7 is where surfers can usually be seen. The posto’s close proximity to the good waves that break off the rock in Arpoador makes it the perfect place for surfer dudes to ride the waves and hang loose. Postos 8 and 9, on the other hand, are where the hip and young crowd converge. Ipanema Beach prides itself for being culturally and socially diverse and proof of this lies somewhere between Postos 8 and 9, which are designated as the entire beach’s gay-friendly area. The rainbow flags that flutter in the wind are symbols that mark the area called the Gay Beach. Weed smoking is also rampant here. Posto 10 is where the rich and famous abound. It is also where young hipsters and beautiful women gather to enjoy their day in Ipanema.
Deemed the world’s sexiest beach, Ipanema Beach is the perfect place to enjoy clear waters and to soak up the sun. It’s also a great place to enjoy rounds of soccer, volleyball, and footvolley (yes, football and volleyball combined) with strangers.