World famous Copacabana
Copacabana – the home of maybe the most famous beach in the world – stretches between Posto Dois (lifeguard tower 2) to Posto Seis (lifeguard tower 6) alongside the Atlantic Ocean. On each end of the beach lay historic forts: Fort Copacabana built in 1914 at the south end and Fort Duque de Caixas on the northern end of the beach. The spectacular curve of 4 km white sand beach hosts millions of revelers during the New Year’s Eve celebrations – all dressed in white – and more millions of sun catchers all year round.
The promenade of Copacabana is a 4km pavement landscape, a Portuguese pattern of black and white geometric wave, designed by Roberto Burle Max. It follows the seaside and the Avenida Atlantica, dotted by residential buildings, bars and restaurants.
The most attractive part of Copacabana bairro (neighborhood) is without a doubt, the beach! More crowded and lively than the neighboring Ipanema, it is a the place where toned and beautiful people hang out, Capoeira fighters show their best moves, samba music invites you to start shaking that body with the rhythm, fresh coconuts and icy cocktails quench your thirst or where spirited vendors tempt you in trying local dishes, fruits or cold tea. It is a very animated area, very diverse and where one gets to feel the real Brazilian vibe.
The Copacabana area has 63 hotels and 10 hostels and many residential eleven to thirteen stories high buildings – two stories buildings or houses are rare in this part of the city.
It is served by more than 40 bus routes and 3 subway stations: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arcoverde – and it will be one of the four Olympic Zones during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Copacabana is bordered on the northern part by the neighborhood of Leme and Leme beach and on its southern part by famous surfing beach Apoador, followed by the renowned Ipanema.
When it comes to food options in Copacabana, there is not much to say, other than that there is such a rich and diverse offer, that any taste and budget will be satisfied.
The beach front is dotted with glass food kiosks, that serve from local to European or Asian food – with nice cozy terraces right next to the sandy beach. Pay a visit to a Champagne bar and the night is perfect!
If you are not on a budget, try the restaurants in Copacabana Palace hotel. MEE is one of the first South American restaurants to have earned a Michelin star. It offers Pan-Asian cuisine, a warm friendly atmosphere and a great and sophisticated experience.
Drinks and Party
Belmonte – probably the best boteco in Copacabana. R. Domingos Ferreira 242
New Mariuzinn Copacabana – top place to party near the beach. Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 435
Fosfobox – nightclub with music from alternative pop to alternative rock. Loja 23 e 24 – Rua Siqueira Campos, 143
Pergula – classy bar and restaurant in Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel. Avenida Atlantica, 1702
Bip Bip – Chorro and samba nights with big names of Rio de Janeiro. Loja D – R. Alm. Gonçalves, 50
Where to stay
Less expensive than its neighboring area Ipanema, Copacabana offers 63 hotels and hostels, for you to choose according to your budget and preferences.
Many locals are offering their apartments for rent, so you might want to check the specialized websites before making a commitment to a hotel.
Shopping in Copacabana
Copacabana is definitely the place for buying souvenirs – if you are into Chinese made tacky replicas of the statue of Christ, football items, magnets, key chains, etc.
However, you might save a buck or two if you will try first the Copacabana fair on Avenida Atlantica. You will find the same memorabilia items as in the souvenir shops, but at considerable lower prices. And even some local art and handmade things.
If you are looking for some quality clothes or souvenirs shopping, we suggest better to go for a stroll in Ipanema or Leblon. Great Brazilian brands such as Ellus and Osklen will offer a great variety of beach and casual wear, while Gilson Martins will offer quality handmade leather souvenirs.
- Go for an afternoon walk to the Fort Duque de Caixas on the northern part of Copacabana beach. Up on the hill in 30 minutes, you will experience an amazing view over the beach and neighborhood.
- If you want to enjoy a more quieter part of the area, go towards the northern end of the Copacabana – close to Leme beach, where locals enjoy the sunny days.
- Take a walk from one end to the other – enjoy a cold caipirinha, the street artists and beach castles on the side of the promenade. You will discover some people are really skilled at shaping sand.
- Enjoy the morning breeze while serving breakfast at the Copacabana Fort – reservations might be required beforehand.
- The New Year’s Eve celebration fireworks are one of the most impressive in the world and attracts around 2 million people every year to watch the 15-20 minutes show.
- In 1994, on December 31st, Rod Stewart performed on the Copacabana beach for 3,5 milion people during the New Year’s Eve celebrations – making this the event with the largest crowd ever.
- On July 28 2013, the final even of the World Youth Day was hosted on Copacabana beach. 3 million people and 3 state presidents joined Pope Francis for the holy mass celebration.