Arpoador Rock takes in impressive views of Rio's beaches and mountains — Photo courtesy of Frances Ridley
Really an extension of Ipanema beach, Arpoador generally offers a good deal more elbow room than its famous neighbors, and there is a relaxed air here that is sometimes lacking in super-chic Ipanema and super-touristy Copacabana.
Right next to Arpoador Beach, a giant rock juts out into the ocean, and there are clear walking paths that lead right to the edge of this monolithic formation, offering terrific views over the beaches and out to sea. Widely considered to be one of the best places to take in the sunset over Rio, Arpoador Rock is popular with couples, and it's a nice idea to bring along a cool box full of wine and tasty nibbles to savor as the pumpkin sun begins to dip beneath the water.
At the other side of the rock is Devil's Beach, a little spit of sand whose good breaks and swells make it popular with surfers and body boarders. As the name suggests, however, the water can be treacherous and only those who really know their surfing stuff should attempt to brave the waves here.