Ipanema – VIP neighborhood, beach and hippie fair
Ipanema is an upscale neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro with a swanky beach, an annual carnival of its own and a hippie fair. It is one of the most famous places in Brazil. It can satisfy the needs of any traveler.
Chic hotels and cheap hostels, chic restaurants and democratic cafes are all easy to find in Ipanema.
Where to Find It
Ipanema is found in the southern part of Rio de Janeiro. It borders the Leblon district to the west and the legendary Copacabana to the east.
Interesting fact – The word “Ipanema” from the local Tupi Indians’ language means “bad water” or “stinky lake”.
The Ipanema area has become very popular since the second half of the 20th century. The jazz composition “Girl from Ipanema” (Garota de Ipanema) brought fame to this place. It was written in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes.
Perhaps the most impressive place in Ipanema is the beach with the same name. It is considered one of the main centers of activity of the whole of Rio.
The width of the sandy strip reaches up to 100 meters. The beach stretches for about 2500 meters.
On the west side it borders the beach of the Leblon area. Both beaches are separated by an artificial canal that connects Lake Rodrigo di Freitas with the Atlantic Ocean.
The place, near this canal, is usually not very crowded. Effluent discharges into the canal have an impact. According to the city administration, the pollution of the sewage by coliform bacteria here is sometimes 16 times higher than the allowable norms.
However, other parts of the beach are extremely popular with tourists and locals.
The beach is bounded on the east by Cape Stone Arpoador.
The color of the water changes from clear light blue to murky green after heavy rains.
Ipanema Beach is a symbol of serenity, freedom, and general fun. Beer is sold everywhere, along with the traditional cachaça. There are always people playing soccer, volleyball and fresco ball (similar to tennis, only without the court and net). Masses of vacationers and surfers gather daily on the beach.
On Sundays, the road closest to the beach is closed to traffic. This allows locals and tourists to ride bikes, rollerblades, skateboards, or just walk around and enjoy life here.
In winter, the surf on the beach can reach 3 meters in height, which attracts many fans of surfing.
Do not forget to visit the most famous symbol of Brazil. This is the Statue of Christ the Redeemer. It is right next door.
Banda de Ipanema
Ipanema is famous for its annual street parade Banda de Ipanema. It is similar to the famous traditional carnival in Rio, but takes place independently. The parade takes place on the Saturday two weeks before Brazil’s main carnival.
Banda de Ipanema Festival
The Banda de Ipanema Carnival was first held in 1965. A small group of people dressed in white costumes and hats walked along the beach to music. Along the way, they were joined by people from neighboring houses. At the end of the procession, the group numbered up to 500 people. Over time, the event became annual and quite massive. Now it gathers up to 50,000 people.
Who’s not to be missed at this carnival?
In 2004, the Banda de Ipanema parade was even declared a cultural heritage of Rio de Janeiro.
Interesting fact – When the parade passes near the church of Nossa Senhora da Paz, the procession stops to pay tribute to the composer Pixinguinha (Pixinguinha). He died in this church during one of the carnivals. After a moment of silence, all the people simultaneously begin to sing the song Carinhoso. It is one of the composer’s most famous works.
Participation in the Ipanema Beach Carnival is absolutely free. People gather at Praca General Osorio by 4 pm. At 5:30 p.m. the procession starts. It is accompanied by unbridled merriment and songs. In recent years there is even a procession especially for children. It is called the Bandinha de Ipanema.
On Sundays, the hippie fair (Feira Hippie de Ipanema or Ipanema Hippie Market) is held in General Osorio Square. More than 700 different stalls and kiosks offer everyone authentic Brazilian folk and modern art, local souvenirs, jewelry, clothes and lots of different food.
The first fair was held here by a group of hippies back in 1968.
Many tourists visit the fair, which today is extremely popular. It is an ideal place to buy authentic Brazilian souvenirs. The fair takes place every Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.
Interesting fact – At a hippie fair it’s customary to haggle. And you’re not only reduce the price by 30%, but also have a lot of fun. Brazilians are very good-natured and funny people. Many understand English.
Today the beach “Ipanema” is even more attractive for tourists than the famous “Capacabana”. It can be said that its golden age has arrived. What are the unquestionable merits of this beach in my opinion?
In fact, Ipanema is next to Capacabana, slightly to the right, in the southern part of Rio de Janeiro. Between “Capacabana” and “Ipanema” is Cape Aporador. To the west of “Ipanema” is Leblon beach. In fact, all the beaches of Rio are a single line, separated by semicircular hills of forested areas.
How to get there
The closest metro station is Ipanema/Ozorio. Then take it from there: either walk, stopping in the stores and exploring the neighborhood, or take bus # 426, 432, 435, or 539. The bus runs from R. Prudente de Morais. The price of the trip is about $1 (4 reals).
The route runs along the beach line, getting off is most convenient at the Avenida Vieira Souto stop.
By cab is faster, choose the expensive version of the car with air-conditioned interior in green-red color or the cheap yellow one. The average cost of the expensive one is fixed: $3 (12 reais). The yellow cab fare is billed at about $1 (2 reals) per kilometer.
History of the origins of the beach
The place got its development in the 19th century, it used to be a rural area. The name “Ipanema” comes from the Native American “bad water” in the Tupi language. It is not so inspiring to come here, but once you get to the beach today, it is easy to forget the past. The width of the beach has remained the same since its inception, so historically.
Such a variety of recreation at Ipanema Beach
I noticed that today Ipanema beach is the most attractive in the city for different countries, subcultures and even Brazilians themselves. Everyone finds something here that is unique and just right for them. I, too, saw my virtues in Ipanema – the ability to swim in peace, easy to find a place on the beach, the feeling of security and suitable beach treats.
What makes Ipanema unique is its adjacency to the affluent part of Rio, which provides an almost entirely safe place to spend time and relax. This is especially true if people come here with children. I really liked the fact that there are not as many vacationers here as there are at the packed Capacabana. This way I always had a chance to find a good spot and not lose my stuff.
There are no changing booths on the beach, they are just not provided by the local mentality. Renting an umbrella and sun lounger is easy. It will cost about $3 (10 reals). Toilets can be found only on the main street; they cost 15 cents (0.5 reals).
Features of swimming in the ocean
The water of the Atlantic Ocean is just as clear and salty, inviting and illuminating. The wave is cleaner than at other beaches due to the distance from the muddy bays, and much smaller, which made me happy. On the beach you can swim in calmer water, I even managed to swim a little.
The place is in a small cove. The ocean always transforms me, purifies me and gives me new strength to accomplish things.
Who is Ipanema beach suitable for?
Surf lovers do not really like this beach, they do not have the opportunity to deploy their activities here. Unless a very small section at Cape Aporador is suitable for riding the waves.
Couples with children really enjoy themselves here, even a kind of solitude and relaxation. I have observed that you do not have to worry much about the children, they can even go into the waves. At this time, parents are resting, swimming or sunbathing. There are even fewer intrusive vendors on “Ipanema,” and after all, they make me very tired. Young couples also prefer Ipanema as a romantic beach. Especially since there is a place for a secluded sunset rendezvous. That’s Cape Aproador. It was such a pleasure for me to admire the sunset with the person I love! It’s a good idea to climb up to the big rock for that. This is known to be the place to watch delightful sunsets most of the year.
Teens and young adults have also taken a liking to Ipanema. They struck me as easygoing, liberated and agile. There’s more of the new generation here than at Capacabana, and they love the outdoors, preferring volleyball. Although I also came across a team of aspiring players practicing. I noticed that young people here have a place to meet, relax, play sports together and make acquaintances.
Tourists dress in such a way that the beach, according to some statistics, is considered one of the sexiest in the world!
So many reasons why locals prefer to relax on “Ipanema” more than anything else. It is smaller and cozier than “Capacabana”, but is considered more prestigious.
Active recreation at Ipanema Beach
You want to have an active time, just swimming and sunbathing is not for you? Then rent a bicycle or roller skates. There are also plenty of opportunities to play soccer or volleyball. For all sports there are convenient paths and grounds in the area.
Rental prices of sports equipment are very nice, for example, a bicycle costs about $ 3 per day (12 reals). Rollers are a little cheaper, averaging $2.50 (R$3).
But tourists who want to shop should consider the peculiarity of “Ipanema”. Stores and even souvenir stores here are so expensive that they are suitable only for very wealthy people.
So you can only buy goods at a good price from merchants. For only $3-6 (10-20 reals) you can buy a great bikini, sunglasses or hats.
Where to eat
The restaurants at Ipanema are also upscale, but it’s worth going in to experience the luxury of Rio for $60 to $100 (R$200 to R$300) on average. Of course, if funds allow. There are cafes and bars close to the beach where I found an excellent selection of cool drinks for $5-$10 ( R$20-50). You can just sunbathe and they bring you a variety of snacks and drinks. It’s very nice in the heat! Pineapples and other fruits, ice, berry ice cream.
And on the beach itself in the coastal cafes await national drinks great cold coconut milk and local vodka with lime – caipirinha. Prices for all beach treats carried by vendors are about $1.5-$ (5-10 reals). Checks at fairly budget cafes on Ipanema Beach range from $8-$12 (R$25-40).
The division of the beach
A characteristic feature of Ipanema Beach is the highly specialized sections. In such cases, I find the most suitable for me. However, as I noticed, not all days this division is respected.
In principle, the contingent throughout the beach is very diverse. And yet there is a beach for people with non-traditional sexual orientation. Since the middle of the last century it is located near the post #8. Above it rises the rainbow flag. There is a section of sandy strip for the disabled. People with pets also swim in a designated area. Next to post #9, from the very beginning of the founding of the beach, hippies, creative people and left-wing intellectuals have gathered. Here from the beginning of the founding of the beach you could hear music, conversations on characteristic topics.
In general, the beach “Ipanema” is very beautiful, it is decorated by the two-top mountain “Two Brothers” (on the map above it is on the left) and Cape Aporador (on the right).
Young people make it very cheerful, creating a holiday atmosphere, lightness. The waves near the cape are even weaker, and it is comfortable and safe to swim here. But the cape itself is a favorite place for professional surfers. It is near post #7. For novice athletes there is simply no place among the waves.
I found that, indeed, the Ipanema neighborhood is among the most chic areas of Rio de Janeiro. There are very expensive houses, penthouse houses, and valued ocean views. The peculiarity of Ipanema is the absence of hotels on the beach, which, in my opinion, makes it more tranquil and fashionable. The possibility of such development is strictly controlled by the state and gives its fruits in the form of safety and standard of living. The hot sun shines brightly over Ipanema all year long, and in winter time it’s the most of all days.
Since I bathed there in February, I felt the heat very well. The asphalt in Ipanema is made in rounded squares and the streets are grid-like. It was very comfortable for me to walk there.
On Sunday, cars aren’t allowed on the local roads, people walk freely, skate and ride bikes. There are many theaters and museums. During Carnival, the area has its own parade of locals, including 15,000 people.
So walking near the beach was very pleasant and relaxing for me. The Ipanema area has many cafes and restaurants where you can taste the cuisine of all countries. The stores are very prestigious, not everyone can afford it. I have observed people from many countries. They are so different, it makes the place unforgettable.
Although the water here is calmer and cleaner than at Capacabana, you should not forget to be careful. At any moment, the ocean can behave unpredictably, create a back current, pull you in. You must be careful! Only very good swimmers can safely enter the water.
If they have posted signs that you should not swim now, it is better to follow them. On the other hand, despite the greater safety of the beach, drug dealers and other criminals come closer to Apaporador. The proximity to poor neighborhoods has an effect. Here you can buy a fake or become a victim of fraud. However, the likelihood is much lower than at Capacabana. Everywhere on the beach there are a lot of police officers watching the life of the beach.
A great chance to get burnt in the sun – do not do without glasses, protective creams and hats. You can buy them here at reasonable prices on average of $ 6 (20 reals).
World famous bar Garota de Ipanema
The real fame of the beach began in the second half of the 20th century. That’s when the creative intelligentsia of all stripes started to wander here and form special gatherings, she created her masterpieces right there on the beach, in the cafe, people socialized and had fun in their own way.
The world fame of the beach and the Ipanema area was brought by the song “The Girl from Ipanema”, written right there in the bar, by Tom Jobim (Antonio Carlos) and Vinicious Morais. It became the most popular Brazilian song in the world. It was also sung by Frank Sinatra and other meters. It ranks second after the Beatles’ “Yersteday” in the number of albums released. It is written in the style of a bosanova, and the surprising thing is that the lyrics are very ordinary. That’s how the world found out about the beach and reached out here. The bar check per person is $50-60 (R$150-200).
Today, in addition to the famous bar Garota de Ipanema, there is a park with the name of the song Garota de Ipanema. It is laid out behind the Cape Aporador. It is very romantic to visit these places!
Next to the beach, a 15-minute walk, there is a hippie market on Sundays. I stopped by here as well. It offers inexpensive handmade souvenirs. They are costume jewelry, clay and wood products. The purchase is a charity for the slum dwellers. I like to find original handmade items in such places at reasonable prices of a few dollars.
From Ipanema it’s only a half hour cab ride to the Galean International Airport, and Santos-Dumont Airport is even closer, you can get there in 20 minutes if there’s no traffic congestion. The Sugar Loaf Landmark is also nearby, a half hour bus ride or 15 minutes by cab. It will take about an hour to get from the beach by bus to the base of the Jesus Christ Monument (you can see details about the landmark here) by cab much faster – 15 minutes for $3 (12 reais).
A brief list of beach sites
The conditional division of Ipanema Beach is marked by the numbers of lifeguard posts:
- Cape Apoador, Post 7 is the surfers’ sportsman’s corner, and lifeguards work here as well.
- The coast, shared by Posts 8 and 9, is occupied by sexual minorities.
- Post 9 is the site of the best of the new generation.
- The coast adjacent to the Cesar Park Hotel. This is where the wealthy people from North America vacation.
- Post 10 is occupied by the people with the highest incomes.
The perfect beach for everyone
So, for almost anyone, a stay at the beach will leave a lasting impression. It will not depend on social level, age or cultural perceptions. And the sportsman, and the average family man, and the rich businessman, and the influential politician, and the famous actor, musician and hippie will find the beach very appropriate for a vacation. All equals bright welcoming sun, gentle clear ocean, the opportunity to forget about the bustle and business and fully surrender to relax on one of the best beaches in the world. And that’s exactly why people come here!