The probably most famous beach in the world
The term Copacabana is primarily associated with a district of Rio de Janeiro in the so-called “Zona Sul”. Most people, though, if asked what comes to their mind first when hearing “Copacabana”, would probably say, the 4 km (2.5 mi) long beach section along the Atlantic that is a part of the eponymous district. In total, almost 30,000 inhabitants as well as tourists dwell here every day. Nevertheless, the fine-sandy “Praia de Copacabana” is still the beach to beat and remains popular with everyone. Locals enjoy sunbathing here as much as tourists do. There is lots of entertainment offered along the beach. Families with kids enjoy a fun day by the sea, beach beauties work on their immaculate complexion and beach boys show their well-toned bodies while playing beach volleyball. Be prepared to encounter beach sellers crossing your way, trying to sell anything from the so-called Canga, a beach towel, up to cold and refreshing beverages and grilled prawns.
Calçadão de Copacabana - the seaside promenade
The Avenida Atlântica, the former grand boulevard alongside the beach promenade, is fringed by several huge hotels of the extra-class. Above all, it's the Copacabana Palace that sticks out like a sore thumb and has accommodated several celebrities. Due to it's direct view on the Atlantic, it's sought after among those who can afford to spend some time here. The wave-shaped mosaic pattern, which is what Copacabana became famous for, is typical for the beach.
Even though swimming possibilities sometimes are limited due to strong currents, people would still not avoid going to the beach. “Postos”, the lifeguard towers placed along the Copacabana, are frequently used as meeting points and, on top, easy to find thanks to the fact they are numbered. Hundreds of people gather around the “postos” daily – the ideal point to meet and catch up with friends.
According to a study, the name of the district is derived from imported iconographic artwork of St. Mary that were originally brought here from the eponymous and neighbouring place of pilgrimage in Bolivia. In the 1930s and 1940s, the rich and famous discovered the beautiful beach of Rio de Janeiro and thus started a gentrification process, making the Copacabana a swimming and gathering hotspot. In the course of time, Copacabana saw ever more hotels and sky scrapers arising from the ground, replacing the former grand villas time after time. Although the former glory of Copacabana has slightly grown pale ever since, the crescent-shaped beach is still considered one of the most popular and beautiful beaches Brazil has to offer. The myth of Copacabana is still very much alive.
How to get there
The easiest and most comfortable way to get to Copacabana beach is by using the public transport system or simply walk here.
As most hotels are situated in close proximity to the beach promenade and the streets run parallel to the Avenida Atlântica, the way to the beach is just a short walk.
Otherwise, if you don't feel like walking, you may of course also hop on the bus. Tourists prefer bus lines 583 and 584, as the two of them connect Ipanema, Copacabana and Corcovado with each other. Or why not try the fabulous “Jardineira”, a windowless hop-on/ hop-off bus that commutes between all beaches.
Alternatively, you may opt for getting here by taxi. Taking a cab in Rio de Janeiro is relatively safe. Whenever you need a ride and spot a yellow cab, just wave and it'll stop to pick you up. The fare is reasonably priced, way cheaper than going by taxi in the US or Western Europe. Be careful, though, as fares vary with the time of the day.