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- Visiting South America
Copacabana is one of the most famous beaches in Brazil and this 4km beach is well known worldwide. When people hear Brazil - Beaches - they always hear about the famous Copacabana. Located in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro (also called the "Zona Sul"), Copacabana is a definite must see place. There are other popular sites in the Rio de Janeiro region such as the Corcovado which is now one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It is also known as "Christ the Redeemer Statue". Also there is the infamous Maracana Stadium where many brilliant and exhilarating football (soccer) matches have taken place with the popular Brazilian football team. In addition there are places like the Jardim Botanico, Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) and off course Copacabana and Ipanema.
Our day in Copacabana started when we took a taxi from Rio's centro area and were dropped off at one end of this lovely place. Immediately I started taking pictures. I was astonished to see the lovely Copacabana promenade which was designed by Roberto Burle Marx and completed way back in 1970 but this pavement landscape which is 4km long is really beautiful and well maintained. It was influenced by Portuguese pavements and since observing the Copacabana pavement I've been noticing similar patterns wherever I go now like in Macae.
What is there to see and do in Copacabana?
I will try not to go into too much detail or basically blab on and on about the things to do because frankly I do believe that pictures speak a 1000 words and you can simply browse through the photos to get a better idea of what the place looks like and things to do in Copacabana.
Okay so you can start your visit to Copacabana by strolling along the wavy pavement. You will see people selling tshirts on the street with that same wavy design. That will be your first clue that hey, it's a famous design!
List of things to do!
Like I said, there's lots to see and do in Copacabana such as:
- Take a stroll along the wavy pavement ("calçadão" ) with it's famous Portuguese pattern
- Sun tan on the beach all day - if you can find a good spot and make sure to observe Brazilian life.
- Walk along Avenida Atlantico (you will see lots of little beach bars and cariocas drinking beers and even dancing the samba!)
- Go roller skating, jogging or ride a bicycle along Avenida Atlantico
- You can take part in beach activities like play beach football or volleyball.
- Why not have lunch in one of the restaurants under tents on the sidewalk or inside .. I prefer outside! So much to see! Like the beautiful women in their tiny bikinis
- Shopping in the tourist markets - we got a lovely bowl here.
- Make sure and check out the beautiful sand sculptures.
- If you go for Old Year's Night you are in for a treat - there are millions of people there celebrating and enjoying a spectacular fireworks show!
If you are really into beach activities and can't control yourself long enough to continue your stroll, you can walk right onto the sand and join the rest of Brazilians (locals known as cariocas) who will all be in their swim suits (very tiny string bikinis for the ladies and sungas or speedos for the guys). You will need a beach umbrella for the scorching sun! Good luck finding a space on the beach though. You will see what I mean when you look at the photos! Whilst sunbathing on the beach, make sure and observe Brazilian life! Brazilians love going to the beach and when the sun is out, better yet, the swarm to the sand and water front like bees to a hive!
For those of you who rather continue strolling along the main Avenue adjacent to the beach, you are more than welcome to continue along Avenida Atlantico. Here you will pass many interesting things such as a market place selling souvenirs such as tshirts, hand made jewelry, slippers and many other things. We did buy a very unique hand made blown glass bowl which I absolutely love! There are a couple of these places along this 4 kilometer walk so don't worry but the one I like is the one before Copacabana Palace. On your walk you will pass many restaurants and bars, cariocas drinking beers and people dancing the samba. What fun! If you get tired walking you could always try roller skating, jogging or riding a bicycle!
In case you are interested.. some other hubs
The beach has volleyball and football areas set up so you can partake in these activities or simply be an observer with your camera in hand! You will also get to see beautiful sand sculptures so don't miss the chance to get shots of that. Hungry yet? Might I suggest having lunch in one of the many restaurants? You can opt to eat on the paved outside area under nice white tent like structures so you can observe all the ongoing activity around you. Keep in mind I went to Copacabana during 2010 Rio Carnival so there were lots to see and do! I am not sure if it is always this busy year round.
I do know however that Copacabana is also a very popular place to be for Old Year's Night to bring in the New Year. Actually it is the second largest event celebration that takes place in Brazil, after Rio Carnival of course! Imagine an area filled with millions of people from all over the world all there to enjoy the magnificent fireworks display. This lasts for approximately half hour and is described as being absolutely stunning!
Past popular events featured Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz and the Rolling Stones amongst others. When it was announced in 2009 that Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the 2016 Olympics, there was a huge beach party as a celebration for such an honor, held on Copacabana Beach.
Okay enough talking! I'll let the pictures do the rest. If you want to read up much more on this beautiful place, you can visit this website I found online for lots of Copacabana Info.