Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is truly a world treasure, but for more reasons than you’d initially think. We experienced this beach for the first time in November 2015, and after many years of observing Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain) in photos and films, it was a surreal feeling to stand on this iconic beach for the first time. Ipanema Beach is a bustling stretch of the city (more on the south side of Rio) filled with beach goers, bikinis, warm sand, and the cool waters of the Atlantic. The streets are busy as this is a major roadway running along the beach, and you’ll find many tourists and locals alike wandering down the sidewalk. And once you step onto the sand, the energy intensifies. Ipanema beach is CROWDED Y'ALL with people, chairs, and umbrellas. The people here are packed in very closely in order to fit as many people onto the beach as possible, with visitors’ chairs and umbrellas bumping right up to the next one. You’ll find groups of friends laughing and kicking soccer balls around the expansive shoreline and lovers strolling hand in hand. One of the best things about the beaches of Brazil? No body shame that we could see – we couldn’t help but notice the confidence the people channeled as they strolled along the beach or into the water and the difference that makes in enjoying your experience. I mean, these are my kind of people!
All in all, the Ipanema was fun and a great taste of the Rio beach scene that you’d expect, albeit a little crowded for our taste. If you’re looking for a social scene, vibrant and full of energy this is definitely the beach for you, and after all you simply cannot visit Rio without a trip to Ipanema. So, grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, towel, and sense of adventure to post up on the shores of Ipanema with an ice cold beer. You won’t regret it. After spending an afternoon taking in the sights and dipping our toes in the water, we returned to the quieter end of Copacabana the following day for more space and less noise, but were grateful to have experienced such a gem.
*One tip is that in the below photo you can see that the beach is far less crowded than described above. This was late in the day on the south side of the beach, and it did really clear out. I don't know that this would happen in the high season, but it's worth a shot if you want to try for a less crowded area and time!