Arpoador is the border between Ipanema and Copacabana. The name comes from the rock formation, that gives you a wonderful view to both neighborhoods. Ipanema Beach is renamed Arpoador Beach once you go past Rua Francisco Otaviano. The beach lane, Rua Francisco Bhering is open for pedestrians only. Arpoador Beach is a favorite with surfers, and there are spotlights for night surfing.
At the end of Rua Francisco Bhering begins lovely Garota de Ipanema Park with amazing graffiti wall (see pictures in this album). On top of the hill there's a skating bowl and an overlook. Praia do Diabo (Devil Beach), is at the end of the park. Part of Devil Beach is a reserve, kept by the army.
If you go down Rua Francisco Otaviano in 10 minutes you're in Copacabana. This street has good restaurants, and hotels. There's a small mall named Galeria River that is specialized in articles for surfing body boarding, rollerblading and skating, plus clubbers clothing, and an Internet cafe.
The other mall is named Casino Atlantico, with sophisticated home furnishing and antique shops. There's an antique fair on Saturdays. Across the street, Bingo Arpoador is the closest you can get to a casino experience in Brazil. Though gambling is forbidden, bingos somehow managed to bend the rules. This is one of the most sophisticated, with an assortment of slot machines.
At the end of the street, on the corner of Copacabana Beach, visit the Forte de Copacabana. It was built on the site of the old Church of our Lady of Copacabana, in 1908. The church used the money to build a church in Ipanema, on Praça da Paz. You may visit the Museu do Forte, property of the army.
Arpoador is mostly known for being one of the best metropolitan surf spots in Rio de Janeiro. The rock outcropping creates stable left breakers up to 7–10 feet high (wave face measure, as Brazilians do).
Given its metropolitan location, crowds are ferocious and competitive. Given the fact that waves start to break against the rock on a good day, and that a strong riptide along the promontory creates a quick re-entry, the take-off point is very small and only locals (or visiting professional-level surfers) have a shot at it.
During some time around midsummer it is possible, from Arpoador, to see the sun setting over the sea, a rare event on the generally eastward-facing Brazilian coast. In these occasions crowds gather around the place and cheer when the sun disappears.