Rio’s justly famous Copacabana beach.
Brazilian beaches tend towards long, wide stretches of soft white sand, and those along Rio’s coast also offer excellent facilities, free beach showers, efficient pay toilets, lifeguards and police patrols.
Water cleanliness is probably the biggest issue in this highly populated area. The water in enclosed bays like Botafogo is nowhere near international Blue Flag standard. Lovely beaches, forget the swimming. Better are the so-called oceanic beaches that are naturally cleansed by the Atlantic, but even then we have heard alarming news from supposedly high-flying oceanic beaches such as Leblon.
Bottom line is, if you’re going to swim, stick with the wide-open spaces such as Copacabana and if you come across a floater call it a day!
Prainha Beachis a charming, isolated spot protected by cliffs and one of the best surfing spots in Rio. Get there by car or by the orange ‘surf bus’ that passes through Copacabana and Ipanema. Otherwise try the oceanic beaches at Barra da Tijuca and Recreio past Leblon.
Copacabana promenade, looking west towards Ipanema.
The wide promenade stretches along the whole length of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches, with kiosks selling food and drinks on the way. One of Rio’s star attractions is definitely strolling the beach or prom with regular stops for coconut milk or beer.
If you’re interested in nude sunbathing you’ve got a long trip ahead of you as the nearest is at Abricó, past Grumari, which is way past Leblon. Public transport would take a couple of hours so take a car or taxi.
Fresh water showers are freely available at intervals along the beaches. Photo by Adam Jones
Other than Abricó, the nudist beach, Brazilians don’t do topless. Thongs and string bikinis are fine but men/boys, do keep your eyes under control.
Showers are free but there are other products for hire such as sun loungers and parasols or for sale by masses of wandering vendors selling cold dinks, snacks, sunglasses and much more.