Do you prefer a young, hip ambience, nostalgic glamour or contemporary chic when soaking up the sun? The legendary beaches of Rio de Janeiro offer plenty of choices, among which the golden ribbon of Ipanema is currently the most fashionable. It’s no myth: virtually all of the ladies here are wearing teeny weeny bikinis... whatever their body type! Affluent young Cariocas meet on Ipanema to hang out and be seen. The World Cup inspires spirited matches of futevôlei – a beach blend of Brazil’s favourite sports football and volleyball – that you can watch as they are battled out on the white sand. You can sip a caipirinha as you watch the sun set, then take a detour and visit the café where the 1962 bossa nova smash hit The Girl from Ipanema was written. Its composers were regular customers whose muse was a pretty girl who walked by every day on her way to the beach. The bar is now called A Garota de Ipenama, and the street Rue Vinicius de Moraes, after the famed lyricist.
The vibe is more ‘vintage’ at the crescent moon-shaped Copacabana beach, which became the pearl of Rio when the most luxurious hotel in South America, the Copacabana Palace, opened there in 1923. You can follow in the footsteps of the rich and famous, strolling along the mosaic pavement designed in waves before stopping at one of the seaside bars called quiosques. Set in a quarter that is becoming increasingly bourgeois, Copacabana may not shine as brightly as it once did, but it still has a good deal of popular charm.
For contemporary chic, Leblon beach stands out. Lined with shaded streets in an affluent residential quarter, Leblon and Ipanema are separated by a canal.