Barra da Tijuca Beaches, Rio de Janeiro
I really don't see the appeal of Copacabana or even Ipanema and Leblon. They're on a busy and bustling street, very crowded and you have to be very cautious of your surroundings. However, if you go down the coast past, Leblon you will eventually come to Barra de Tijuca (there's another beach before this one that looked even better) that is really quite beautiful and more peaceful.
We went on a Sunday it wasn't that packed, it was mostly Brasilians. You can wear whatever, there is no silly beach etiquette as in Copacabana, hardly saw anyone wearing a 'floss' bikini and one piece is totally acceptable.
Not too many people selling stuff and they are not aggressive.
Barra is the neighborhood south of Leblon after you pass the Sheraton hotel (and the favelas). It is a more americanized part of Rio with stripmalls and highrise apartment buildings. However, the long beach of Barra is amazing with great surf, and it gets even better after Recreio once you get to Prainha and Grumari beaches. Very relaxed, not crowded and excellent surf spots.
On the way back, you can drive on the spectacular Oscar Niemeyer street that passes the Praia de Pepino, the Sheraton (and the favelas in the hills) to get to Leblon and back to Rio
The first time at Barra
My wife and her Mom wanted to go shopping for about the 400th time, and I finally said no. Just drop me at the beach and I will wander, I said, so they dropped me at Barra (which I visted earlier that week). It has nice white sand, beautiful views, and is much calmer than Copacabana and Ipanema. It is more of a local hangout, while the other beaches mentioned pack in the tourists.
My next trip
As an update, I just got back from a Summer Barra experience, and it has a lot more life. The beaches got pretty full, the views were awesome, the sand is white and soft and Barra is built up nicely. This is a great alternative to Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon, etc, I actually like it better here. It is only about 15 minutes away from the more touristy beaches, and I felt like I had a little more room to breathe with the awesome beach views...
It is not so touristic as Copacabana and Ipanema, but it is also very chic and famous in the city, full of nice restaurants, luxurious residences and a wonderful beach!
Barra da Tijuca is a mix of Miami and Punta del Este!
September 28th, 2004
I spent the day on Barra, a beach in southern Rio. This guy in the photo was great and made our day. The people of Rio really know how to spend the day on the beach, this man was a "bbqer". He would set up shop with his portable grill and sell sausages and other things. The great thing about him was his enthusiasm, he would run from person to person taking orders and always had a big smile on his face (although if I could spend every day on the beach as well, I would be smiling as well haha). He obviously knew the importance of not having to wait for your food (other wise your beer would get warm!). He was awesome!
You must go to Barra Da Tijuca Beach it is great more of a local type beach not the tourist type beach very nice people very nice and I think it is very safe there I would walk around the beach at all hours never any problems
Visit the beaches at Barra Tijuca, a ways south of Ipanema and Copacabana. The water is warm and the scenery is beautiful as you can see from the photo.