Ipanema scarcely needs any introduction, having been made famous world wide by the classic bossa nova tune Girl From Ipanema. The tune was penned in honour of a local beauty who would pass by the songwriters' local bar each day, and the area continues to be populated with supernaturally good-looking people. If you are looking for a beautiful beach liberally sprinkled with equally beautiful people, welcome to your Brazilian paradise.
See & Do
Ipanema is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Rio, and its appeal lies in its stunning beach. Flanked by the towering Dois Irmaos (Two Brothers) mountains, the beach is informally split into sections according to social groups. For example, the young and the beautiful head to Posto Nove (lifeguard post 9), while gay beachgoers congregate by the rainbow flag in front of Rua Farme do Amoeda.
With very few exceptions, formal dining in Ipanema is an expensive affair - but you are paying for the top location as well as for some very good restaurants that serve everything from all-you-can-eat meat feasts to colorful salads for body conscious beachgoers.
If the budget is limited, fear not - there are countless informal snack bars here, all serving fresh juices and low-fat sandwiches alongside burgers, hot dogs and the like.
Ipanema is renowned as the haunt of the city's beautiful boys and girls, and its upscale clubs and bars are wall-to-wall full of elegant types (and foreigners trying to summon up the courage to approach them). The entrance fee for these chic nightspots can be steep by any city's standards, but budget travellers can party the night away at more informal party spots such as Shenanigans Irish bar and Emporio, both of which throng with locals and visitors well into the small hours.
Ipanema is considered the more chic of Rio's famous beach neighborhoods, and while there are fewer places to stay here than in neighboring Copacabana, you will find plenty of family-friendly beach front high rises, such as Praia Ipanema and Sol Ipanema, as well as self-catered apartments and apart-hotels.
The jewel in the crown of Ipanema's hotel scene, however, is the fabulous, Phillipe Starck-designed Fasano Rio, whose rooftop infinity pool is the hangout of choice for visiting A-listers.
Accommodation in Ipanema tends to be more expensive than elsewhere in the city, although budget travelers will find plenty of welcoming backpacker options along Rua Barao de Torre.
Shopaholics will be in their element in Ipanema - there is plenty of opportunity to splash some serious cash on everything from teeny tiny bikinis at stores such as Bum Bum to bespoke jewellery at the neighborhood's many chic boutiques.
Each Sunday, Ipanema hosts the legendary 'Hippy Fair', where it is possible to find interesting arts and crafts and hand-made clothes among the inevitable tourist tat.