The name is as immortal as it is musical: Copacabana, where bossa nova rhythms were born, along with the inspiration for a million and one nightclubs around the world. It’s one of the best-known districts of Rio de Janeiro, and while its golden age may have passed, its epic oceanfront beauty seen by bike or from Arpoador, framed by rolling hills and blue sky, definitely has not. Here are the best things to do and see in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.
Crouching over Copacabana Beach, just five minutes’ walk from Cardeal Arcoverde metro, this little patch of Atlantic coastal rainforest is one of the oldest protected areas in the city. On an early-morning or late-afternoon stroll, you can expect to see marmoset monkeys, toucans and brilliantly colored, sparrow-sized tanagers in the trees. You’ll also find cooling springs and wonderful views of Copacabana. But always take local advice and go in a small group, as muggings are not uncommon.
The Arpoador is one of the greatest places to surf and fish in Copacabana, but also an atmospheric spot from which to view the sea and the coastline of Copacabana. Meaning “harpoon thrower” in Portuguese, this rocky outcrop creates decent waves for surfers year-round. That’s not the only reason to come – the sunsets here are amazing, but try to get here on a weekday night, as crowds descend on the weekend.
Benjamin M. Smith contributed additional reporting to this article.