Like a local – a day at the beach
Rio de Janeiro is famous for its beautiful beaches – and they play an important role in the social life of a Carioca. Going to the beach is not just an intake of Vitamin D or giving a sunny glow to the skin, but a part of the social life of the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro. And, of course, there is a culture around it that you should be aware if you don’t want to look too much like a gringo.
Here are some tips for looking like a local at the beach:
If you are a woman, wear a Brazilian bikini – the iconic style bottom that has a narrower cut at the back giving it a cheekier fit. Very colorful and with different styles, they can also be purchased right on the beach from the vendors displaying dozens of pairs on dangling umbrellas. Do not wear a swimsuit – it will definetely blow up your cover. Topless is stricty forbidden on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro
Men usually wear a sunga, the Brazilian equivalent of Speedos, but with a bit more material around the waist. Although comfortable, some men might not feel confident wearing the sunga. Luckily, the board shorts are also acceptable, so do not worry too much.
So make your pick, put on your sunglasses and flipflops (do not go to the beach wearing any type of shoes, but flipflops) and hit the sand!
Laying on the beach
Towels are a total No No! No matter how cool you think it is, bringing a towel to the beach is a total give away. Bring a kanga (sarong) to sit on. Or just buy one from the beach vendors – they are colorful and make also a great souvenir. Girls use them also as cover on the way to the beach and back. Men usually sit on chairs that can be rented from the beach baracas or straight in the sand.
Now that you have this covered, order a gelada – a cold beer – lay back and relax.
Drinks and food
Don’t bring your own stuff on the beach. There is plenty to choose from: there are tens of baracas serving cold cocktails, beer, refreshments and food. And lots of friendly vendors hitting the beach every day with everything you can imagine, from beachwear, sunscreen, to food and drinks to your taste. They are polite and not pushy, and you would be supporting their way of making a living.
Try not to bring too many things with you at the beach. All you really need is sunscreen, sunglasses and some money. If you really must bring a camera or a mobile phone, just make sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
All that being said, welcome to Rio! Enjoy!