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24 Hours in Rio de Janeiro: The easiest best beaches
It's cliche to think of The Girl from Ipanema and feel corny when planning your beach excursions on a 24 hour jaunt to Rio de Janeiro, but the fact of the matter is, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches (they're adjacent) are the among the best, easiest to access stretches of sand in the town. Located in the Zona Sul, the heart of tourist activity, they're also the most popular. So what makes these two beaches better than the rest?
Part of it is the view. It's easy to find sand, a few palm trees and a gentle ocean breeze anywhere between Malibu and Buenos Aires, but the landscape around Rio is what sets it above the rest. The massive, granite peaks that shoot out of the Atlantic Ocean are most breathtaking, and as you gaze south down the coast line you can see Sugarloaf Mountain and the cable cars sleepily ferrying passengers to the summit. Behind you, Christ the Redeemer gazes onward as always from Corcovado.
And part of the beach experience in Rio is, well, the view. Beauty fits into a wider spectrum in Brazil, with the beautiful people more attractive than anywhere in the world and the uglier more horrifying. Naturally this is exacerbated when you're on the beach and everyone is wearing next to nothing.
But that's part of the beach culture here. People come to the beach just to loaf around and socialize, and there's an entire economy dedicated to revelers. Those that forgot a towel or beach chair or umbrella can rent one anywhere on the beach, and food, drink and trinket vendors snake through the crowds hawking their wares. On a busy warm Sunday, it can be hard to find a spot to pitch your umbrella, let alone take a seat.
The sand, weather and views are with the trip are worth it, however, and no good tourist should visit Rio without a trip to the beach. Be forewarned that the surf at both beaches is quite strong. Anyone braving the waters is subject to an extremely strong undercurrent, and those that aren't carefully can easily be dragged away. At the minimum, due to constant currents you'll exit the water far from the point that you entered.