Rio de Janeiro beaches are hot, hot, hot in every sense of the world. Baking in sizzling tropical sun almost all year round (give or take the occasional pesky cold front...) beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema are as famous for the beautiful people that frequent them as they are for their own ample physical charms.
Ipanema beach should be top of any sunseeker's wishlist — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
While no visitor to Rio should leave the city without paying a visit to these two legendary stretches of sand, there are plenty of other beaches worthy of your tanning time.
One lovely beach that remains surprisingly little-visited by tourists is Praia Vermelha, a little spit of sand that sits right at the foot of Sugar Loaf mountain. With calm waters and an unbeatable backdrop, this is a popular place for local families, and the location next to a military base makes it one of the safest places in the city to sunbathe.
For those who like a little elbow room on the beach, taking a bus west of the city center will reap substantial rewards. Head first for Barra da Tijuca, a modern, wealthy suburb with a beach that stretches for some 14 kilometers. Frequented by body-conscious, sporty locals, the beach here is so expansive that it rarely gets crowded.
Farther west still lie the beaches of Recreio and Grumari - both of which are wonderfully quiet during the working week and are as tranquil and isolated as Copacabana is buzzing and touristic. While buses run to Recreio from Ipanema, Copacabana and downtown, Grumari is accessible only by car - special surf buses run out here, and this is a popular spot with local ´surfistas.´
Those looking to get closer to nature still may want to escape the city altogether and take a coach or boat trip down the beautiful Costa Verde - or Green Coast. Here, hundreds of isolated beaches await, and it's possible to take boat rides out to some of the 165 islands - of which the most famous is Ilha Grande - that surround the town of Angra dos Reis.
Rio de Janeiro's Costa Verde is home to hundreds of unspoilt beaches — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
A little closer to the city itself, the town of Buzios is a favorite destination among sun seekers from Rio and further afield. The town lies on a peninsula some 100 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro and benefits not only from countless pristine beaches, but also from the fact that it sees less rainfall each year than anywhere else in the state. Once a sleepy fishing village, Buzios caught the world's attention in the 1960s, when screen siren Brigitte Bardot took a holiday here with her Brazilian boyfriend. The world's press descended here in order to snap the French beauty in her bikini, and today a bronze statue of Bardot in her heyday looks out over the bay.Buzios offers countless prisitine beaches — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson