Visitors arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the first time quite rightly tend to head straight to the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema when the sun beats down on this sizzling city. But not everybody knows that far from being simply daytime attractions, the beaches of Rio continue to attract hordes of locals and visitors alike right through the night until the small hours.
Copacbana beachfront is extremely lively after dark — Photo courtesy of Charlie Phillips
Copacabana and Ipanema beachfronts are lined with more bars and restaurants than one could count, and these range from super-simple beach kiosks serving competitively-priced caipirinha cocktails, beers that come estupidamente gelada (stupidly cold) and plates of fried sardines, among other simple snacks, to sleek and chic restaurants and even Champagne bars. Rio´s hot, hot heat means that formal dress is rarely required, and on Copacabana beachfront, it's possible to enjoy smoked salmon and bubbly while relaxing in your beachwear and virtually-obligatory Havaianas flip flops.
While some bars along the beachfronts close around midnight or earlier, others welcome drinkers and diners all the way through to sunrise and beyond, should you have the stamina. While it's not safe to wander along the sands late at night, taking a stroll along the floodlit promenade is fine, and this is a great way to find a bar that suits your tastes and budget.