Brazilian Beaches, No.4 - Ipanema, Zona Sul
The Brazilian beach series continues today with a look at the famous Ipanema beach in Rio.
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Many people will have heard Frank Sinatra crooning about 'The Girl from Ipanema'. This is the very beach that inspired that song. It is a hive of activity in the summer with people playing soccer, beach volleyball and a combination of the two called footvolley. In the winter it is a bit of a surfers paradise with waves hitting nine feet in places.
Two mountains called the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça.
Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles, and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.
It's a beautiful stretch of sand, with kiosks to pick up a coconut to down the water from the shell or a caipirinha. There's plenty of scenery along the sand and the jagged pinnacles of the Two Brothers that loom up beyond the next beach, Leblon.
A couple blocks from the beach, you can revisit the inspiration for the "Girl from Ipanema" with a visit to Garota de Ipanema, the cafe where the song was written.
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