Brazil’s Famous Beach
Just about everyone in the world has heard of Copacabana beach. It is arguably the most democratic, accommodating, and welcoming place around Rio de Janeiro, producing a healthy mix of people and cultures from around the world.
A Place for Celebration
I vividly remember last year at the 2014 FIFA World Cup something uniquely beautiful that happened. When I was strolling down the sidewalk of Copacabana with customers of See You In Brazil and tourists from various parts of the world, while celebrating the games and festivities, I noticed several teens in a group walking on the boardwalk and shaking people’s hands, embracing them and each other, proclaiming loudly “Welcome to Brazil! Welcome to Rio! Welcome to the World Cup in Brazil!”
I was very moved by seeing the joy in the hearts and the absolutely contagious smiles on the faces of those teenagers, as they were receiving everyone who had come to Rio to enjoy the World Cup.
Even though I am Brazilian and was born in Rio de Janeiro I still was very touched and appreciative of how the welcoming and smiling made me feel- excited to be there at the right time, receiving the greetings of Rio!
These greetings are manifested in a number of ways that are impossible to ignore. They come not only in the lush and vivacious beauty but by the aforementioned receptivity, the smile and the joy of sharing Rio-Brazilian culture with visitors.
In a survey by Embratur (Official Brazilian Tourism office) concerning foreign visitors, it was discovered that foreigners coming to Brazil are initially attracted by the natural beauty; however, when they leave Brazil they depart delighted with the feeling that the Brazilian people even surpass the natural beauty of Brazil.
There is a phrase that is commonly used in Rio “We are all together and mixed,” this helps articulate the pervasive sentiment of acceptance and warmth that is felt in Brazil and especially Copacabana.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil saw people from all over the world celebrating, singing, raising their flags, sporting the many different colored shirts for their countries. Drums beat loudly, traditional drinks were brought from different countries, and it was truly an incredible demonstration of worldwide joy and pride.
Up even when their football teams lost and were down, people continued to celebrate and would often cast their support for another team.
Though the name or colors of a nation and country were on the backs and everyone. There was this beautifully permeating sensation that we are all human, without passports, without borders that separate us, all with passions and desires to feel and be swept up by the beauty of the moment.
It truly had to be the happiest piece of land in the world at that time on Copacabana Beach where the water met the sands of the beach and the sands of the beach came up and kissed the side walk.
It was that magic moment that I will keep forever in my memory.
Tourism in Copacabana
Since this is such a special and desirable area obviously it boasts a lot of premiere hotels. When tourist look for the best hotels in Rio frequently they end up booking a hotel right here in Copacabana Beach.
For obvious reasons it is very famous, it offers a great location that is close to everything, it has astounding beauty, and if you want to see and experience Rio Copacabana is the destination. Some of the best hotels are situated in front of the sea, offering a stunning ocean view.
How to get around
To get around in Copacabana you can use private or regular transportation (requested from your travel agent or at your hotel’s front desk).
Local transportation is also an option. There are three Metro Stations (Cardinal Arcoverde, Siqueira Campos and Cantagalo), and a multitude of bus lines ensuring mobility for convenient tourism. There is a wide range of taxis and many municipal buses as well.
There are bikes conveniently placed around the city of Rio. These bikes are a part the BikeRio program to help promote cycling in the city. This is a fun way to get around and stay active too! Tip: Make sure to ask a Carioca to help you get a bike since the system is in Portuguese. Tip: Also, stay safe by cycling in the bike lane and paying attention to cars on road.
The Copacabana Beach Life
Even the sidewalk in Copacabana is something to marvel at and appreciate with its Portuguese stones that are crafted to symbolize the ocean waves.
Copacabana Beach is 2.5 miles long! But there’s no getting lost since the boardwalk is divided by Life Guard posts. Copacabana Beach runs from Post 1 to Post 6. Station 1 is on Leme Beach, which is an extension of Copacabana Beach. These stations have nice conveniences such as public restrooms and showers.
Many people come from all corners of the globe to spend the day on the beach. A good day at the beach could include the following: spend your morning walking along the boardwalk to find your perfect spot along the sandy shore; choose from an array of water activities like stand up paddleboard lessons (paddle instructors are found near Post 6 – Forte de Copacabana); there’s an endless selection for your day at the beach.
I personally like to enjoy relaxing at the kiosk while eating fresh seafood, listening to Bosa Nova and Samba, playing Beach volleyball, while staying hydrated with refreshing cold coconut water, all while beautiful people-watching on Copacabana Beach. You can also enjoy the artfully crafted beer, drink the Brazilian welcome drink, our famous Caipirinhas, or the delicious Acai puree – the powerful superfruit of the Amazon.
Tip: Stay at a nice hotel. The best hotels on Copacabana pamper their guests with beach service where they bring you towels, umbrellas and lounge chairs. These hotels offer a nice roof pool with delicious restaurants, all with a panoramic birdseye view of the beach. The most famous of these hotels is the Belmond Copacabana Palace and its Hotel Cipriani Restaurant.
Want to see some celebrities? Schedule a weekend afternoon drink at the Copacabana Palace Pergola. A Brazilian restaurant focusing on Brazilian cuisine and giving each customer a uniquely wonderful experience.
Include some time one afternoon to visit the Copacabana Fort or Museum where you can wander through exhibition halls, cafes and have a wonderful view across the beach of Copacabana and Leme with its dazzling skyline.
On Sunday, a large portion of the street on the beach is closed off to vehicles and it becomes a huge pedestrian walkway. This welcomes entire families, skateboarders, skaters, street vendors, street artists and all beach lovers to come together for this delightful and engaging experience.
From Tuesday to Sunday evenings, from Miguel Lemos to Admiral Gonçalves Streets the boardwalk hosts the Copacabana Fair. You will be amazed and drawn in by the Brazilian swimsuits, crafts, jewelry, sarongs, paintings and of course friendly Cariocas! Tip: Find Post 6 for easy access to the fair.
I suggest staying till sunset and enjoying the sea and its smooth shimmering water at night. Relax in this incredibly charming atmosphere where you can stop by a kiosk and ask for another drink, of your choice, and listen to live local music; either a group of pagode, Samba, or a guitar player on a stool will keep you entertained you into the night.
Every New Year’s
If you go around New Year’s Eve, be prepared to watch one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world!
People from all over the city and tourists (around two million people) join on the sandy beach, in the sea waters, and on boats and cruise ships to see the bursting of the most spectacular fireworks!
Tip: The best location to witness this spectacle is in the middle of the beach. From there, you can see the full extent of the flashes and flares cascading over Copacabana Fort.
Take your sparkling wine and glasses to the beach to toast and welcome the new year! Tip: In Brazil it is allowed to take your beverage with you from the restaurant, bar, or local store and onto the street.
After the fireworks display (lasting about 20 minutes) artists put on a vibrant performance that will keep you dancing and celebrating life. Not a bad way to begin a new year.
I remember being here with my wife and witnessing as she was magnificently swept up by the emotion in this awesome New Year’s Party. It will be an experience she, and I, will not forget.
Tip: Copacabana is a brilliantly eclectic place where you may see just about everything and anything. But of course like every tourist place, make sure to watch your stuff, do not walk around with expensive or flashy gear.
So are you ready to travel to Brazil and see one of the top must visit beaches in the world?
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