"Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, View of Copacabana beach at sunset"

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Copacabana Beach

Top choice in Rio de Janeiro

A magnificent confluence of land and sea, the long, scalloped beach of Copacabana extends for some 4km, with a flurry of activity along its length: over-amped soccer players singing their team's anthem; cariocas (Rio residents) and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks; favela kids showing off their soccer skills; and beach vendors shouting out their wares among the tanned beach bodies.

Each group stakes out its stretch of sand. The area between the Copacabana Palace hotel and Rua Fernando Mendes is the gay and cross-dresser section, known as the Stock or Stock Market – easily recognized by the rainbow flag. Young football and futevôlei (soccer volleyball) players hold court near Rua Santa Clara. Postos 5 and 6 are a mix of favela kids and carioca retirees, while the spot next to Forte de Copacabana is the colônia dos pescadores (fishermen’s colony). As Copacabana Beach curves north you get into the quieter sands of Leme (Av Princesa Isabel forms the demarcation between the two neighborhoods). Here you'll find a mix of older Leme residents as well as kids from the nearby favelas of Babilônia and Chapeu Mangueira.

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 there are few locals around.

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1. Posto 3

0.09 MILES

Beach marker on Copacabana Beach.

2. Posto 4


Beach marker on Copacabana Beach.

3. Posto 2

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Beach marker on Copacabana Beach.

4. Bairro Peixoto

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A world away from the bustle of Copacabana's busy avenues, the Bairro Peixoto is a peaceful enclave centered on the leafy Praça Edmundo Bittencourt. Here…

5. Museu da Imagem e Som

0.67 MILES

If work on this new museum is ever complete, Copacabana will finally have an outstanding rainy-day attraction. The building, designed by celebrated New…

6. Posto 5

0.76 MILES

Beach marker on Copacabana Beach.

7. São João Batista

0.85 MILES

Midway between Santo Ângelo and São Miguel, little remains from the mission at São João Batista. With a little imagination, it is possible to make out the…

8. Forte de Copacabana


Built in 1914 on the promontory of the old Our Lady of Copacabana chapel, the fort of Copacabana was one of Rio's premier defenses against attack. You can…