7 Must-Do’s on a Copacabana Tour of Rio de Janeiro
Visions of samba, carnival, speedos and alegria flood a traveler’s mind at the mention of Copacabana Tour, Rio de Janeiro’s famous horseshoe-shaped beach neighborhood and every tourist’s favorite stopping point to explore the “marvelous city”. Vistors to Brazil’s grand former capital often ponder whether to stay in Ipanema or Copacabana on a tour of Rio de Janeiro. These two beach communities, intersecting at a near-90 degree angle, are both great options, however, first-time visitors are best served in Copacabana, lined with dozens of diverse restaurants and kiosks on both side of the Avenida Atlantica. Here are seven “must do’s” from Copacabana during your Tour of Rio de Janeiro:
Join frolicking dogs and morning joggers for a pre-breakfast stroll along the uncrowded beach anytime of year. Get up early for a 7am stroll along Copacabana’s 4 km (2 ½ mile) u-shaped beach, with a changing panorama along the way, including views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statues. A buffet of breakfast cakes, tropical fruits and hearty meats awaits you back at your Rio hotel.
2) Enjoy a Guaraná above the waves: Copacabana Tour
Try Brazil’s favorite sparkling beverage, made from the red Amazonian Guaraná berries, as you sit above the waves below the Morro de Leme, the big rock at the eastern end of Copacabana in the neighborhood of Leme. With the entire beach at your feet, witness the local boys diving off the rocks, fisherman bringing their catches and the kiosks serving the catch as peixe frito to happy, hungry clients.
3) A View from the Top: Copacabana Tour
After enjoying the view, climb to the top of the “rock of Leme” for a panoramic view of Copacabana & Praia Vermelha (“red beach”) as well as Sugar Loaf Mountain looming over you just hundreds of meters away. Entrance (weekends only, nominal fee) is through the Forte de Leme, the military outpost anchoring this end of Copacabana. The walk up is relatively gentle and is shaded by tropical vegetation.
At the other end of Copacabana, the Forte de Copacabana, the relaxed military outpost and lifeguard training center hosts an interesting military museum as well as a more sophisticated café, with views of the entire beach with Sugarloaf in the background.
5) Rock in Rio: Copacabana Tour
Another 15 minutes west of the Forte brings you to the jutting rock formation Arpoador, Portuguese for “harpoonist”, as the natives used to hunt whales from this point. Arpoador is the apex joining Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, with views in both directions.
6) Beyond the Copa: Copacabana Tour
After exploring Ipanema, consider jumping into Rio’s modern, efficient & fast Metro to return to one of Copacabana’s three stops, OR continue to the historic downtown: alight at Cinelândia, home to Rio’s legacy of grand cinemas, cultural parks & plazas and the Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro’s eclectic Paris-inspired opera house. Your tour of Rio de Janeiro could include a performance of one of the great European masterpieces, or a world class classical concert in a unique location.
Your tour of Rio de Janeiro is not complete without a view of Copacabana by night: Finish your day at one of the kiosks on the beach side of Avenida Atlântica. “Deck Zero-Nove”, across from the Copacabana Palace Hotel, has a simple yet diverse menu, a short selection of South American wines and local beers, and the best nighttime views of this historic 5***** monument, harking back to its golden heyday when Carmen Miranda was a regular guest. Picture the starlet on her hotel balcony as the moon slowly melts into the Atlantic.