Sugar Loaf mountain frames the beach scene at Copacabana — Photo courtesy of Phillie Casablanca
Rio de Janeiro's beaches are its social spaces, and your choice of sunbathing destinations is considered to say a lot about a person. Many locals like to turn up their nose at Copacabana Beach, citing it as less chic than neighboring Ipanema and Leblon. Don't let this put you off a visit, though.
While the tiny bikinis here may be less expensive than those on display in Ipanema, the views of Sugar Loaf mountain and distant islands are almost enough to keep sunbathers' eyes from wandering to the endless parade of bronzed bodies (male and female) clad in barely-there swimwear.
Ipanema's rise in popularity came about partly because Copacabana had become packed with sunbathers, but in fact now the opposite is true - there is often a lot more elbow room to be found at Copacabana (particularly at the quieter Leme end) than at neighboring sands.
Copacabana Beach is often less crowded than Ipanema — Photo courtesy of -Chupacabras-
The price of a caipirinha or coconut water by the beach tends to be cheaper here, too, and the many smart beach kiosks offer opportunities to tuck into everything from fresh seafood to pizza in a cone (although the latter may be best avoided by anyone who believes that pizza was doing just fine in its original format).
Flanked by high rise hotels, the beach is far from secluded, but it's one of the best spots in the city for people-watching. And walking Copacabana's five-kilometer length is a good way to tan and exercise at the same time.