Beaches in Rio de Janeiro

Beaches in Rio de Janeiro

    * Ramos (in-bay) - inappropriate for bathing
    * Flamengo (in-bay) - usually inappropriate for bathing
    * Botafogo (in-bay) - inappropriate for bathing
    * Urca (in-bay) - usually inappropriate for bathing
    * Vermelha (in-bay) - sometimes inappropriate for bathing
    * Leme (oceanic)
    * Copacabana (oceanic)
    * Arpoador (oceanic)
    * Ipanema (oceanic)
    * Leblon (oceanic)
    * São Conrado (oceanic) - sometimes inappropriate for bathing
    * Barra da Tijuca (oceanic)
    * Recreio dos Bandeirantes (oceanic)
    * Grumari (oceanic)
    * Abricó (oceanic, nudist beach)

Abricó is the only official nudist beach in the city of Rio de Janeiro, it lies next to Grumari beach. Only accessible by car/taxi. An option is taking the bus numbered S-20 (Recreio) that passes along Copacabana/Ipanema/Leblon, and from the end of the line (ponto final) take a cab.

It is also worth visiting the beaches in Paquetá, particularly:

    * Praia da Moreninha (on the Guanabara Bay, but often not clean enough for swimming)

Cariocas have a unique beach culture, with a code of customs which outlanders (even Brazilians from other cities) can misconstrue easily. Despite what many foreigners may believe, there are no topless beaches. Girls can wear tiny string bikinis (fio dental), but it doesn't mean they're exhibitionists. For most of them, it's highly offensive to stare. Until the 1990s, men and boys wore speedos, but since then wearing bermuda shorts or boardshorts has become more common, although speedos ("sungas" in Portuguese) seem to now be making a comeback. Jammers are less common but still accepted.

Waves in Rio vary from tiny and calm in the Guanabara bay beaches (Paquetá, Ramos, Flamengo, Botafogo, Urca) to high, surf-ideal waves in Recreio. In Leme, Copacabana, Arpoador, Ipanema, and Leblon, there's a popular way of "riding" the waves called pegar jacaré (pe-GAHR zha-kah-REH; literally, "to grab an alligator"). You wait for the wave to come behind you then swim on top of it until it crumbles next to the sand.

Commerce is common in Rio's beaches, with thousands of walking vendors selling everything from sun glasses to fried shrimp to cooling beverages (try mate com limão, a local ice tea mixed with lemonade, or suco de laranja com cenoura, orange and carrot juice). For food, there is also empada (baked flour pastry filled with meat or cheese) and sanduíche natural (cool sandwich with vegetables and mayo). Vendors typically shout out loud what they're selling, but they won't usually bother you unless you call them. All along the beaches there are also permanent vendors who will sell you a beer and also rent you a beach chair and an umbrella for a few Reais.

The beaches in Barra and Recreio (Quebra-Mar, Pepê, Pontal, Prainha) were favored by surfers and hang-gliders until the 1980s, but now they are outnumbered by the middle-class and nouveau riche from the suburbs and also West Zone favela residents, such as now world-famous Cidade de Deus (City of God, made famous in the eponymous film).