Beaches in Rio de Janeiro - beach vendor

Rio beach vendor Photo by Andreas Lönngren.

The beaches in Rio de Janeiro are famous around the world. Say Copacabana and it sparks the imagination of most people. Coming to Rio spending a sunny day on the beach is definitely something special. There are quite a few beaches and there is a defined beach culture, I have put together everything right here. To start with I will tell you a few things that you need to know.

The Beach Culture

The beaches in Rio de Janeiro play an important part in the social life of many Cariocas, therefor it has a strongly defined beach culture with some unwritten rules. Of course you can ignore these completely but “When in Rome…”. Here are some do’s and don’ts:

Do wear beach fashion. For guys that is swimming trunks or surf shorts. For girls it´s a bikini, make sure they are whole and clean! Topless is strictly forbidden, you could actually get arrested. Don´t wear football shorts or a bathing suit.

Do bring a beach bag with your stuff, a small backpack is also ok. Don´t ever (regardless of what your guide book tells you) go to the beach with a plastic bag, especially not from a supermarket. Uncool.

Do, if you’re a girl use a kanga (sarong) to sit on. A chair is also ok. For guys it’s a chair or just to sit in the sand. Don´t use a towel, it doesn’t matter how cool you think it is; in Rio a towel is a big no-no.

Do buy your things to eat and drink on the beach. Don´t bring food and drinks, especialy not a 1 1/2 liter bottle of water! From another perspective you can also see that you actually support these vendors that are walking in that baking sun trying to make a living.

Accommodation Along the Beaches in Rio de Janeiro

I get quite a few friends coming here asking for beach front accommodation, for some parts of the year like New Years it is very expensive so many times they desist. For other parts of the year, although never cheap, it is more affordable. If you want to check out some hotel options along the beaches in Rio you can go here.

Beaches in Rio de Janeiro

Just click on the links below to get info about that particular beach. I have tried to use a historic perspective as well as explain how it is today.

Copacabana Beach & Leme
Ipanema Beach & Leblon
Barra Beach & Recreio
Grumari, Prainha, Macumba, Joatinga & Praia Vermelha

I have left out quite a few beaches, most of them because of pollution.


Be careful with what you bring to the beach, a bit of money is all you need really. For those must have camera shots you can just go down and take them and then return home to leave the camera. So many people loose things on the beach in more or less cunning scams.


Many of the beaches in Rio de Janeiro are artificially enlarged with vasts amounts of sand. This has created pretty strange and strong currents who are responsible for quite a few drowning accidents. Follow the signs and always make sure someone is keeping an eye on you from the shore. Do not go for that 4 o´clock in the morning swim, that could be your last!

Coconut delivery on Copacabana beach.

Everyday thousands of coconuts are delivered to satisfy thirsty customers. Photo copyright

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