Barra Beach may not be so famous outside Brazil but for Brazilians it signifies wealth and a healthy life style. There is a stretch of no less then 18 km going all the way from the beginning of Barra de Tijuca until the end in Recreio.
Barra Beach has a short history as a place for the public; That is beacuse the neighbourhood itself, Barra de Tijuca, only really got populated in the 1980’s. Wealthy people was attracted to the area because of luxurious condominiums, security and a healthy glamorous lifestyle. Many features from Zona Suls Copacabana and Ipanema quickly took root, especially anything sport related. Some of them was actually taken further such as healthy sandwiches, açai and adventure sports (like wind and kite surfing). Many rich and famous bought apartments here and can still be seen on the beach.
The Arrival of the Public
The mix of modernity, glamour and fame caught the eye of many people in Rio. On a normal weekend, much to the contempt of some people living here, the beach is nowadays full of people from Rio’s poorer areas. The highway Linha Amarela gives these people quick access to both Barra and Recreio. On weekdays you still have those healthy looking bodies with that air of wealth in a clear majority.
Where is What on Barra Beach?
Right in the beginning of Barra Beach you have many people from the favelas closeby. Next comes the kite surfers, if you are interested in trying just walk up to them and ask, for sure there is someone there that can help you. Close from there you have Cabana do Pepe (English: Pepe’s Cabin).
Pepe was the pioneer hang glider in Rio, he tragically passed away during a hang gliding competition in Japan. Before he died he opened Cabana do Pepe. Here you can buy excellent natural sandwiches, açai and smoothies; it’s also a good spot to check out the locals since it’s one of their favourite hangouts. Pepe was in many ways a symbol for the new Rio generation that became adult in the 1980’s. Surfing champion, hang gliding champion. Restaurant pioneer with his sandwiches and also by opening Rios first Japanese restaurant Sushi Leblon (still considered one of the best in Brazil). The profile of an entrepreneur living his interest for games, adventure and health; he was the new Carioca.
After Pepe’s the beach just continues… one part is a natural reserve. During weekdays you can be almost alone there, weekends it all fills up though. The beach changes over to Recreio and ends at a huge rock in the water.
Surfing is pretty good both in Barra and in Recreio, it all depends on swells and all that stuff that I don’t have a clue about. Try Surf Guide Rio which my good friend Rob wrote for me fot good advice.
The last few years Barra Beach has had big problems with plants and pollution coming from the rivers and the lakes when it rains a lot. When that happens it takes days to remove the many hundred tons of dirty plants from the beaches.