Ipanema beach – the beach inspired poets and artists
Ipanema beach is bordered by Arpoador Beach on one end and Leblon Beach on the other end. This beach is considered one of the main centers of activity for the city of Rio. One of the most expensive places to live, the neighborhood is full of wealthy residents.
Around the Beach
Considered the “little Paris” of Rio it is renowned for its avant-garde galleries, bookstores and movie theatres. Stop in at H. Stern, one of the most popular jewelry stores in the area, and take a tour of their museum. Not only is it free but you receive a little box of semi-precious and precious stones as a gift. Every Sunday the Hippie Fair is held with vendors selling everything from wooden dolls to swizzle sticks topped with parrots. Garcia D'Avila street has some of the best brands of the city as Osklen, H Stern, Amsterdam Sauer and many others.
Where to Eat & Drink
For the best sushi visit Benkei on Av. Henrique Dumont. If you want to try genuine Brazilian feijoada go to Casa de Feijoada on Rua Prudente Morais. You should plan to fork over some dough at Porcão on Rua Barão da Torre for some of the best and most expensive churrasco in the area. Have an after dinner drink at Garota de Ipanema at the corner of Rua Vinicius de Moraes, where the song “Girl from Ipanema” was written. Emporio on Rua Maria Quiteria is for the younger crowd with a DJ and rock music. One of the best tips for Ipanema is the Acarajé. It is a croquette, fried in Dendê (Palm) oil, filled with shrimp (spicy!). It can be found in the Hippie fair on Sundays at General Osorio Square.
Where to Stay
To sleep in luxury consider staying at the Fasano or Ipanema Plaza. Both are close to the beach and shopping. Fasano has already received Madonna, Beyoncé and John Travolta, just to say a few. Another great 5 star option, but not so expensive, is the Hotel Caesar Park beach front. For a hotel with middle of the road prices try the Hotel Vermont on Rua Visconde de Pirajá. Budget accommodations are plentiful in Ipanema and consist mostly of hostels. The Adventure Hostel on Rua Vinicius de Moraes is a member of Hostelling International. Casa 6 on Rua Barao da Torre has both double rooms and dormitories and One Love Hostel has a breakfast buffet every morning.
The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are divided into tribes, but Ipanema is where that note is so strong. In front of the country club meet young beautiful and high class people. It’s certainly the place to see and be seen. In the Posto 9, near Joana Angélica Street the public is more laid back and alternative. The strip of sand between Ipanema and Leblon close to the canal is not very busy and it is quite empty, and should be avoided.
Frescobol is a sensantion among cariocas at the beach, it's like tennis, it's played by two people with racquets, not net and you are not to drop the ball. If you go to Ipanema don’t miss watching it and if you feel like participating also, it will be a pleasure for Cariocas to have a tourist playing with them.
In front of Rua Vinicius de Moraes the beach goers can enjoy the sunset on the 72 square meters viewpoint installed on the beach. The gazebo is an observation point for the Cagarras Island, also has a solar-powered shower to cool off.
Ipanema Farme is the gay beach of Rio de Janeiro. Located next to Rua Farme de Amoedo, it is frequented by young, muscle bound gay men. However, everyone is welcome and affectionate behavior is accepted.
Aside from gays and lesbians Ipanema Farme attracts other visitors. TV stars, single women, families and heterosexual couples all enjoy this stretch of beach. It is quite open and accepting of everyone. To blend in with the locals visitor need to remember to wear their square cut Speedo and Havianas.
As with most other beaches, there are vendors selling everything from chairs to coconut water. Many of these vendors are very supportive of their clientele flying the rainbow flag, a symbol of the gay community. Promoters also walk the beach handing out flyers to various nightclubs, bars and gay parties. There are even masseuses who walk the beach offering their services. Needless to say they are very popular with the beach goers.
Around the Area
Join the gay crowd at Bar Bofetada for a chopp (beer) and some munchies. It is located on the Rua Farme de Amoedo where the gay crowd tends to congregate both during the day and at night. Have breakfast at the bakery Cafeína, with its wonderful croissants, pastries and tropical fruit juices. Have dinner at Via Farme, Duke or Galitos on the same street. Both are quite good and not too pricey. Some of the best gay night clubs include Casa da Lua or Barao da Torre and Dama de Ferro on Vinicius de Moraes. Ipanema Plaza Hotel is the place to stay. Located right on Rua Farme de Amoedo and next to the beach, it is the most popular hotels for gays in the area. The Golden Tulip Ipanema Plaza, located immediately across the street from Ipanema Farme is a more modestly priced hotel for gay travelers.