A short walk west of where Copacabana ends is a stretch of three other very popular beaches, Leblon, Ipanema, and Arpoador. This is my preferred stretch of beach in Rio and where I spent the most beach time. There’s also a promenade along most of the length of the beach, just like in Copacabana.
Ipanema, made famous by the song “The Girl from Ipanema”, is another upscale area, but you will see a lot more action on the beach. I passed up a lot of people playing volleyball and football. Ipanema is located in the middle of the stretch.
On Sunday afternoon, there was a truck driving slowly along the beach with a live band on top. People were following it dancing along to the music. It really added to the beach atmosphere.
Arpoador is on the east end. It’s also got a lot going on, especially surfing, but if you choose to swim there be careful! I got a concussion body surfing when a wave I caught broke a bit early and sent me tumbling uncontrollably to the bottom. I’m very lucky I didn’t get knocked out and dragged out to sea.
The best feature of Arpoador are the rocks at the end of the beach. Find a spot on the rocks and watch the sunset. It’s one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever witness.