Lonely Planet review
A magnificent confluence of land and sea, the long, scalloped beach of Copacabana and Leme always has a flurry of activity stretching its length: overamped footballers singing their team’s anthem, cariocas and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks, favela kids showing off their football skills, and beach vendors picking their way through the mass of bronzed bodies.
As in Ipanema, each group stakes out its stretch of sand. Leme is a mix of older residents and favela kids, while the area just west of the Copacabana Palace is the gay and transvestite section, known as the Stock or Stock Market – easily recognized by the rainbow flag. Young football and futevôlei (volleyball played without hands) players hold court near Rua Santa Clara. Posts 5 and 6 are a mix of favela kids and carioca retirees, while the beach next to Forte de Copacabana is the unofficial posto de pescadores (fishermen’s post). In the morning, you can buy the fresh catch of the day.
The beach is lit at night and there are police in the area, but it’s still not wise to walk there after dark – stay near the liveliest beach kiosks when venturing out. Av NS de Copacabana is also sketchy – watch out on weekends, when the shops are closed and few locals are around.