Beach Con­fi­den­tial

LUXE City Guides - Rio de Janeiro - - Activities -

The end­less, sun-kissed shores and samba-sculpted bod­ies of Rio are famed the world over, so shimmy on into your bot-bar­ing bathers and hit the sands, but get the LUXE low­down be­fore you lie down...

Glob­ally-renowned and im­mor­talised in story and song, Copaca­bana Beach to­day sadly heaves with clue­less tourists, flabby el­der­lies and faded strum­pets; take a stroll down the prom­e­nade if only to cross it firmly off the list. The young n’ flaw­less flock to the 2km stretch of Ipanema Beach in­stead – that’s where you wanna be. Surfers (and pervy on­look­ers) gather at Ar­poador, the clus­ter of rocks on the east end mak­ing up posto 7, and pop­u­lar perch for the cu­ri­ous cus­tom of ap­plaud­ing the sun­set. Bossa nova en­thu­si­asts and party peeps bee­line to posto 9, where Tom and Vini­cius clocked their ‘Girl from Ipanema’. Glimpse Rio’s gay scene on the sands in front of Rua Farme de Amoedo half­way be­tween posto 8 and 9 – look for the bar­raca shacks fly­ing rain­bow flags, natch. Wher­ever you are, rent a chair or bring a sarong (ditch the towel or risk pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion), but be warned – sin­gle straight men sim­ply do NOT ever lie down, in­stead strut­ting and fres­coballing in all their Speedo-clad glory. Near posto 9, the Bar­raca do Uruguai / 7800 4715 / from 7am daily, sarnies from 1pm / is famed for juicy meat sand­wiches brushed with chimichurri; pair with a near-lethal caipir­inha and don your cachaça gog­gles, or pre­serve what’s left of your dig­nity with a ‘mate’ (iced tea) at civilised, hi-so Posto 10 in­stead. At the height of sum­mer the beach is cheek-to-cheek rammed; if the big re­veal proves too shame­ful, hire a driver (see V. Use­ful) for a day trip to the pris­tine sands of Barra de Guarat­iba (60min from Ipanema), home to lush nat­u­ral re­serves plus the se­cluded Gru­mari and Prainha beaches, su­per for sun­ning bunny and baps in bliss­ful soli­tude. Can’t bear to leave? Check into flirty flopspot Le Re­lais de Maram­baia (see Ac­com.) for more R&R. Par-ahh-dise...

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