São Conrado Beach
São Conrado one of the most beautiful beaches
São Conrado beach sits east of Barra da Tijuca and west of Leblon Beach. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Popular with favela residents and the middle class it has excellent surfing and hang gliding spots.
Sports on the Beach
One of the reasons this beach is so popular is the incredible surf. The currents are very strong providing large waves for surfers to enjoy. The waves can reach up to 150 meters on their best days. To try your hand at paragliding the best spot on the beach is Pepino. Hang gliding is also popular in this area thanks to the impressive Gavea Rock that protrudes form the soft sand beach. Hiking to the top of Gavea Rock is quite popular but can take up to 8 hours to go up and back.
In the hills above the beach is a slum called Favela of Rocinha. It is the largest slum in Rio de Janeiro with over 200,000 residents. Take a tour of the slum to learn about its history and legends. The tour guide will take you to the churches, stores and even inside some of the homes.
Since November 2011 the Favela of Rocinha was pacified in a government action to oust the drug dealers, making the region safer and formalizing public and private services, through the implementation of a police peacekeeping unit (unidade de polícia pacificadora – UPP) - a kind of a permanent outpost military police headquarters.
Around the Beach
The most sophisticated shopping can be found at São Conrado Fashion Mall with 150 shops, high-end restaurants and movie theaters. Some of the most famous names in fashion and home decor have stores here. The most popular hotel in the area is the InterContinental Hotel, now Royal Tulip on Av. Aquarela do Brasil # 75. Visit the Royal Tulip to dine at Eñe a Spanish restaurant and one of the most popular in the area.