Rio - Ipanema Beach 7241550 The most glamorous beach in the world
photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC
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Ipanema is a neighborhood that summarizes the best Rio de Janeiro has to offer. There's a legendary beach, a bustling nightlife, restaurants to write home about, the most sophisticated street shopping in town, cultural centers, museums, excellent hotels in all price ranges... Better yet, everything is in a walking distance, and it's easy to find your way around. Streets are lined up in a grid, and you have the beach and Lagoa as your references. If you had only one day in Rio, and you want to experience the city like a local instead of a tourist, this is the place you would be heading to.
Most of what is known as Ipanema today belonged to aristocrat José Antonio Moreira Filho, the Barão de Ipanema. Ipanema means bad water in Brazilian Indian dialect, but since the name was inherited from the baron, it has nothing to do with our beautiful blue sea. Once the tunnel connecting Copacabana to Botafogo was opened, Ipanema was finally integrated to the rest of the city.
In 1894 Vila Ipanema was founded, with 19 streets and 2 parks. The neighborhood started to grow faster with the arrival of streetcars in 1902. Ipanema became a household name in the 1950's and 60's - it is the birthplace of Bossa Nova. The whole world learned about it with hit song The Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morais, both Ipanema residents.
Since then Ipanema is always setting new trends, and what happens here reverberates throughout the country. Take Banda de Ipanema, for instance. What started as a celebration among a few dozen friends ended up bringing a new life to Rio de Janeiro's Street Carnival festivities. Today the parades attract as many as fifteen thousand, and many other neighborhoods have street bands of their own.
The first pregnant woman in a bikini was actress Leila Diniz in the 70's, she lived on Rua Aníbal de Mendonça. The first men sunbathing in a bikini bottom was Fernando Gabeira at Posto 9 in the early 80's. The first topless woman (who bothered asking? - 80's), and the dental floss bikini (late 80's) are among fashion statements that were made here first.
Ipanema has played an important cultural role in the city since its early days. There are major art galleries, universities, several schools, avant-garde theaters, art movie theaters, cyber-cafés... Do not be surprised to discover a cozy café with a web connection inside a bookshop or clothing store.
Fitness is also a big thing. Expect to run into juice shops every other block. People going into and coming out of the many state-of-the-art gyms. Activities offered sometimes include capoeira, you could well walk in and give it a shot. Keep your sunglasses on to better watch the sun-kissed girls and boys of Ipanema go by.
When the sun sets, the fun does not end. With an assortment of cafes, bars, and clubs there's always something happening at night. Stroll around Praça da Paz, Baixo Farme and Baixo Quitéria. Watch a live music performance, crash a circuit party, sip a beer or fresh coconut under the stars at a beach kiosk. Gays and lesbians have their own beach spot, and enjoy venues and clubs on Rua Teixeira de Melo, Farme de Amoedo and surroundings.
BELOW INFO IS COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA
Ipanema is a neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador.
Ipanema gained fame with the start of the bossa nova sound, when its residents Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes created their ode to their neighborhood, "Girl from Ipanema." The song was written in 1962, with music by Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by de Moraes with English lyrics written later by Norman Gimbel. Its popularity has seen a resurgence with Diana Krall's song "Boy from Ipanema" released in 2008.
Ipanema is adjacent to Copacabana Beach, but it is distinct from its neighbor. It is relatively easy to navigate because the streets are aligned in a grid. Private infrastructure has created world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. At the forefront of the beach culture are the many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.
Ipanema has played its own role in Rio's culture since its beginning. It has universities, art galleries, theaters and cafes. Ipanema holds its own street parade during Carnival festivities, separate from Rio de Janeiro's. Banda de Ipanema attracts up to 50,000 people to the streets of Ipanema for Carnival.
It is famously known for its elegance and social qualities. Two mountains called the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a locally invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and football.
In the winter the surf can reach nine feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto 10 (10th lifeguard tower) where young and often beautiful carioca men and women hipsters congregate.
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
Posto 9's tradition began around 1980 when the present deputy Fernando Gabeira, came back from his political exile in France and was photographed there in a thong. He had been a political terrorist who, with his MR-8 mates, kidnapped the American ambassador in the sixties to release some political prisoners in Brazil, that was under a dictatorship at that time. In the eighties he became a political celebrity and his picture appeared on the front pages of all Brazilian newspapers together with his declarations that he was bisexual. His going to the beach at that spot made it famous throughout the country.
It inherited the status of a "cool and alternative" space in Ipanema beach from the area next to a pier that was demolished in the seventies, near Farme de Amoedo Street. It has a long history of pot smoking (illegal in Brazil), police raids, and left-wing, as well as alternative, gatherings.
RIO DE JANEIRO
The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.
Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.
Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.
Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.
The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.
But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.
Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.
The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.
Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.
Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.
The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.
From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.
The Avenida Atlântica promenade
One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.
The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.
Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.
The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa
By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.
One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.
Tour the favelas
Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.
Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.
The Santa Teresa district
A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.
A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.
Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón
Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.
The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.
Tijuca Atlantic Forest
A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.
You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4x4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.
Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro
December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.
Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.