Ipanema Beach and Neighbourhood

While most famous for its beautiful white sandy beach Ipanema also boasts some of the best shopping in Rio

Looking east along Ipanema Beach
Looking east along Ipanema Beach cc licensed photo by Rob

Ipanema Beach is found adjacent to Cocapabana Beach and Leblon Beach. It is said to be the beach where news and history is made. Ipanema Beach was first noticed thanks to a song called "Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and Brazil has never looked back.

Ipanema Beach fronts the neighbourhood of Ipanema, one of the most expensive and lively places to live in Rio. The area is filled with world-class restaurants and shops and is noted for some of the best shopping in Rio. The streets are easy to navigate thanks to their modern grid-like arrangement. The road closest to the beach is closed on Sundays to allow cyclists, rollerskaters and other wheeled activities safe free rein. Locals and tourists alike can be seen making good use of the closed road to get some exercise with the ocean nearby for a quick cooling off.

Ipanema Beach is not just about sunbathing and rollerskating. There is a fascinating cultural aspect too. During the Rio Carnival, the area has its own street parade which attracts as many as fifty thousand people. In addition, there are art galleries, theatres and universities throughout the area and a weekly "Hippie Fair" offers some very unique items up for sale. See our page on shopping for more information.

The western end of the beach is guarded by two mountains called Dios Irmaos, Two Brothers. Furthermore, the beach is divided by Postos, lifeguard towers, some of which have very interesting stories to tell. Posto 9 was made famous by deputy Fernando Gabeira having his photograph taken there in a thong. Between his controversial beach wear and his notoriety for kidnapping the American ambassador in order to orchestrate the release of prisoners in Brazil it is no wonder that the area nearby became well known for left wing gatherings, police raids and marijuana smoking.

Today different sections of the beach are popular for different groups and activities. For instance, if you are looking for a lively, more vibrant atmosphere with fit, tanned people sunbathing then Posto 9 is where you will want to be. This area is the most popular. You are likely to spot a few hippies and artists hanging around this section too. Posto 10 is where you will find several sports minded people playing volleyball, soccer and other beach activities.

if surfing is your thing, definitely one of the best beaches to be at is neighbouring Arpoador beach. Just stroll east along Ipanema Beach to Arpoador Beach where surfing in Rio de janeiro originated. Several surfing tournaments and events are held there throughout the year. Arpadodor Beach ends at a rocky outcrop some 60 metres high. If you make your way to the top you will enjoy a stunning view down the entire length of Ipanema Beach. This part of the beach is lit up at night making an enjoyable nighttime swim possible.

Visitors to Ipanema Beach will want for nothing. Beer and the more traditional cachaca is sold all along the beach. There are plenty of vendors and cafes within walking distance to ensure that no sunbather goes hungry or thirsty. Beach chairs and umbrellas can all be rented right from a number of concession stands located at intervals along the beach. Games of football, volleyball and footvolley are arranged all along the beach. With surf reaching nine feet high in winter and the barrel forming break, the beach is a great spot for the experienced surfer.

If you happen to look to the skies above you may see some hang-gliders soaring overhead. Hang-gliding is a popular sport in Rio de Janeiro and if you are adventurous you may want to look into one of the tamden hang-gliding tours that are offered in many of the local area hotels for a truly memorable experience. You'll enjoy unparalleled views of not only Ipanema Beach but also Copocabana Beach and beyond.

While you may be tempted to enjoy a romantic nighttime stroll along Ipanema Beach, for personal safety we would recommend confining your walk to the well lit sidewalk running along the edge of the beach. It is patrolled regularly making you less vulnerable to those who would try to steal anything of value from you than you would be if you were walking in the darker, lonelier sections of the sandy beach.)

If all this is not enough, the Travel Channel has listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world. This alone is enough to make a visit worthwhile!

Directions

Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - OrangeIpanema/General Osório4 Minutes

How to get to Ipanema Beach by Metro

Ipanema is served by Ipanema/General Osório Station. If you are heading to the beach, exit the station and walk diagonally across the square to the southwest corner and bear left (south) down Rua Teixeira de Melo to the beach.

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People enjoying Ipanema Beach on a busy weekend. The beach is much quieter on weekdays.

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