BEST BEACHES IN RIO DE JANEIRO
If you're visiting Rio, the the only Portuguese word you really need to memorize is praia, meaning "beach"! Rio de Janeiro is well known for its famous stretches of sand and decorative boardwalks, so it's a no-brainer why this seaside city in Brazil has captured the world's attention with its beautiful beaches. Choosing which beach to visit can be a bit overwhelming, as there are so many to pick from, each one a bit different from the next.
While in Rio, Shahzeb I had the chance to explore 6 different beaches. Though busy at most hours of the day, the vibes at Rio's beaches are unlike any other I've ever been to! Upbeat samba music, street vendors selling yummy snacks and cariocas (locals) fill the beaches, giving you a feel of just what you'd expect from Brazil's colorful culture!
1. PRAIA DE COPACABANA (COPACABANA BEACH)
If you only visit one beach in Rio, let it be Copacabana! Best identified by its crescent shape and white sand that stretches for over 2 miles, Copacabana Beach is one of the most famous and vibrant beaches in the world. Views of Sugarloaf and an iconic mosaic tiled promenade easily make it the most picture-perfect city beach in Rio. And with hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and residential buildings lining the promenade, you don't have to go far to keep the party going from day to night!
One of my favorite ways to spend a day on Copacabana Beach is to sip fresh coconut water under a palm tree, sink my toes into the sand and soak up the sun. With a mix of locals and tourists alike, I found this to be the best beach for people-watching!
2. PRAIA DE IPANEMA (IPANEMA BEACH)
Made famous by the 60's song "The Girl From Ipanema", this beautiful beach attracts people from all over the world. Bordered by Arpoador Beach and Copacabana Beach to the left and Leblon Beach on the right, Ipanema is definitely the most chic of them all. The Dois irmãos (two brothers) mountains create a scenic backdrop for beach-goers, and you'll find the beach informally separated into several zones, called postos. Walk along the beach and find the one that fits your vibe!
Shahzeb and I spent a few hours here taking in all the Vitamin Sea, practicing our drone skills and scouting out the coconut game on the beach per usual!
3. PRAIA DO ARPOADOR
Tucked in between the world famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Praia do Arpoador is not quite as popular as its neighbors, but this little stretch of sand is certainly worth a visit. Praia do Arpoador is most easily recognized by the giant rock that sticks out from the shore and into the crashing waves.
Shahzeb and I sat perched on this rock for an entire afternoon and later strolled around to buy lunch from one of the vendors along the beach. We had a pretty incredible view over Rio's stunning coastline, easily making it one of my favorite beach days. Oh, and the sunset views from here are guaranteed to make your heart skip a beat!
4. PRAIA VERMELHA (RED BEACH)
If you're looking to escape the crowds at some of the other beaches in Rio, head over to Praia Vermelha! Located just under Sugarloaf Mountain, this is the perfect beach to relax and spend a few hours sunbathing with the locals! Though the water wasn't the best for swimming, this was definitely one of the least crowded beaches I visited in Rio, and the views of Sugarloaf Mountain more than made up for it!
After spending the afternoon on Red Beach, be sure to head up to Sugarloaf for breathtaking views of sunset! You'll even catch a glimpse of Red Beach from your cable car as you make your way to the top of the mountain.
5. PRAIA DA JOATINGA
Getting here is definitely a bit tricky, but the trip will be more than worth your while if the weather cooperates. A successful day at this beach relies 100% on the tides, so check the conditions beforehand. When the tide is high, the sea leaves no space for people on the sand (this was the case when we visited), but when it's low tide, this little sandy strip is supposed to be a beautiful piece of paradise!
We took an Uber to Joatinga Beach, asked our driver to wait (bless him!) and shot a few photos of sunset before riding back to our hotel. I wish we could have spent more time here, but the tide was high and the clouds were grey and gloomy. This just goes to show, things aren't always picture-perfect for bloggers and photographers – I guess I'll just have to return to Rio someday and experience it once again!
6. RIO'S PRIVATE BEACHES
If you're looking for a beach that offers a bit more R&R, you may want to opt for a private beach. A beach day that will forever leave a mark on my heart is one we spent taking in the breathtaking views from the private beach at the Sheraton Grand in Rio. With sandy feet and salty hair, we spent Valentine's Day lounging on the soft sand of this beautiful beach in Rio, watching the waves crash against the shore. Check out this list of 10 Rio de Janeiro Hotels with a Private Beach for some inspo!