When considering what the most famous beaches in the world are, only a few come to mind (Santa Monica, Bondi for example), and two of them are right here in Rio: Copacabana and Ipanema. Given my hostel is a 5 minute walk from Copacabana beach, I thought it would be the perfect place to spend my first day in the city. I’d heard mixed things about how safe it was to walk around with a camera on the beach, but I decided to take mine anyway (though in my bag – not around my neck).
The road to Copacabana beach was largely underwhelming, with a number of small shops and restaurants, as well as street vendors selling a number of different snacks. However, on reaching the beach it was noticeably nicer, with some of the best hotels in Rio lining the beachfront. I decided to stick to the pedestrian path on the side since walking on sand for long periods is never much fun. The weather was perfect for the walk, with a comfortable breeze complementing roughly 25 degree heat nicely. Each kilometre of the beach is marked with a sign, and apparently different people are known to congregate at different markets. For example, the local gay community often meet at kilometre 2, while young couples go to 9.
After walking for about 45 minutes I reached the top of Copacabana and had to cut inland slightly in order to emerge at the start of Ipanema beach. I have to say I was slightly disappointed with Ipanema compared with Copacabana, since it was much narrower and didn’t have the same atmosphere of small cafes and market stalls. It was also a lot quieter, with just a few people walking around as opposed to relatively large numbers at Copacabana partaking in activities such as sunbathing and fitness routines.
Not fancying another hour of walking back to the hostel, I opted for the metro back since it goes right from downtown Ipanema. The metro was very easy to use, with all tickets costing £1 regardless of destination, and trains arriving promptly and being rather spacious. Once back near the hostel I went for a late lunch by the beach and enjoyed the sun. By the time I was done it was very low in the sky since it sets before 6pm at this time of year – strange given how hot it is. At this point I probably should have taken some photos, though there were a few people around making me a bit uncomfortable; I think I will come back tomorrow instead.
In the evening I self-catered and went to a local bar with an English guy I met at the hostel and two German girls who had just arrived from London. We also later met two local Brazilian guys who we hit it off with and invited me to stay with them for as long as I want! Watch this space because it may be a better option than £15-20 a night hostels...
Photo of the day: no photos today because I wasn’t quite sure how safe it was to get the camera out.