Planning to go to Rio de Janeiro, and trying to imagine what Copacabana beach is like?
The south zone of Rio de Janeiro is called "Zona Sul" or the south zone. Filled with hotels, restaurants, bars and stores it is also home to the most famous beach in the world, the Copacabana.
Life is vibrant here. Like ants, thousands of people make their way to and from the beach. Either just strolling along or exercising along the wavey Avenida Atlantica on rollerskates, jogging or on bicycle.
You will meet a blend of people, different languages, different social backgrounds, sellers, entertainers, businessmen and beggars.
I stumbeled into a group of brazilians doing Capoeira on the street, a very talented group which you could see in the video clip Below.
The inviting ocean can be seen on the horizon, only cut my a green hill and the Sugarloaf far to the left (The Leme side) and the Copacabana Fort on the far right (Towards Arpoador and Ipanema).
The sand expands out about 4 km from east to west, but the principal property of the Copa is it's great wide strech. The government has raised volleyball nets and beach football courts which are frequently used, especially after the hottest period from 11-13.
You will see training equipment every so often reflecting the brazilian view of having a healthy and well fit body, and Rio's lifesaving towers, offering freshwater showers against that sticky salt.
What else to see on Rio's famous beach? Walking along, from Leme towards the Copacabana fort, you will pass several restaurants and small beach bars.
The beach bars are good for relaxing with a cup of beer, called a chopp, and a snack called a refeicao, which are small dishes delicious with the cold beer (One of my faveourites is spicy pieces of meat with fried onions). You should try the coconut water called Agua de Coco.
The restaurants offer delicious brazilian cousine, albeit at slightly higher prices than the average brazilian is used to. I recommend trying "carne seca, carne de sol com aipim", it's one of my favourite at the avenida restaurants.
The Cabana is also filled with sellers of all types and ages. They make their living offering bracelets, shirts, towels, drinks, and so on to the turists of Rio de Janeiro. You will find several nice gifts to bring home, and be happy that you helped some of the poor people of Rio.
The creativity to make money is astonishing. You see kids making tricks at the traffic lights, the ordinary freeze character, magic tricks, markets, fried corn vendor, tatooist, and the list goes on.
You can also see beautiful sand sculptures along the beach by artists trying to make a daim. And entertainers with incredible ball control.
All in all, just being on Copacabana is an incredible feeling, looking at everything going on, the smells and sounds. At least now you know what to expect on Copacabana beach. You'll have a great time in Rio.