Whilst Copacabana has always had the spotlight for glamour and beauty, it is in fact Ipanema that is beginning to take over and steal the stage. With its younger crowd, stunning natural views and great bars and restaurants, it’s not hard to see why its popularity is increasing. To make the most of your time there, continue on to check out our list of the best things you must do in Ipanema.
Ipanema is famous for its beautiful beach. With Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Peak) to the right and a great expanse of blue ocean in between, it’s easy to see why. The weekends during peak times can get crowded, yet the hustle and bustle of the beach is friendly and lively. Locals carefully top up their tans with regular breaks to the waters, all while enjoying a refreshing caipirinha or two.
The local hippie fair is held every Sunday in Praça General Osório and is the perfect spot to go for a wide range of Brazilian souvenirs, from clothes and shoes to ornaments and artworks. The Hippie Market is popular among the locals and tourists, and it’s an easy way to spend a pleasant afternoon by strolling around and picking up unique pieces that will forever remind you of your time in Brazil.
To the far side of Ipanema is Arpoador, a large rock that juts out into the sea and is a popular hangout, especially when the day begins to draw to a close. From this viewpoint you can witness one of the most beautiful sunsets in Rio — the sun dips just next to or behind (depending on the time of year) the Two Brothers Peak and casts its vibrant colors across the sky and ocean. Sunsets here are always celebrated by a round of applause from its spectators.
The Cariocas (people who live in Rio de Janeiro) love to surf and there is no better place to get your bearings and start learning how than in Arpoador. With a well-established surf school, lessons begin at the crack of dawn to catch the small yet perfect waves of the morning. Lessons are open for beginners all the way up to advanced surfers, and not only is all of the equipment provided, but the instructors can speak English, too.
The Museum of Communications in Ipanema offers an enlightening glance into the history of human communication, and explores various concepts of how it will develop in the future. While it may be a small museum, it certainly has plenty of things to see and offers various interactive displays to help explain concepts in an easy and fun way.
This venue has an amazing concept; during the day it sells clothes and jewellery from boutiques in Rio and offers jewellery and cocktail-making workshops. At night, it transforms into nightclub with a live DJ and bar stocked with plenty of cold beer and tasty cocktails. The venue itself is small so it does get crowded inside. Galeria café attracts an alternative crowd and hipsters and is gay-friendly.
Brazil is well-known for producing excellent martial champions and a trip to Brazil is a perfect opportunity to give it a practice. In Ipanema there is a Jiu Jitsu school named Brazilian Black Belt that offers regular classes, yet welcomes drop-ins, too. The instructors speak Portuguese, English and Spanish and offer classes for beginners up to more advanced. Practicing Jiu Jitsu is a great way of seeing a different aspect of Brazil’s culture whilst getting some serious exercise.
Near Arpoador is the Fasano Hotel, a luxury hotel that regularly sees celebrities and sport stars among its clients. The hotel is well into the high-price brackets, yet it has a free club that gives you an opportunity to see inside the beautiful hotel and time to enjoy the classy and sophisticated nightlife it offers. Here, more is more and dressing up is expected. Fasano Club sometimes has live DJs with music ranging from pop to house music that guests dance the night away to. Although it’s free to get in, drinks are expensive — so come ready to spend some cash.