When in Rio ..... get into the beach culture

I am sorry, right up front, for the fact that Barry Manilow’s song ‘Copacabana’ is going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but…

Just like the girl from Ipanema, I went walking along the beach. (I did not have an itsy-bitsy polka-dot bikini on, so don’t ask!)

And what a beach to go walking on! It’s probably THE most famous two beaches in the world – Ipanema and the Copacabana, who between them account for only 7km of Rio’s total of 90km’s (that’s 90 KILOMETERS!) of beaches. I think everything that today counts for beach culture – havianas, sarongs, very little beneath the sarongs, beach volleyball, caiparinhas and cold coconut water on the beach – it all came from here.

The promenades themselves are famous too: Ipanema for its duotone mosaic pattern, Copacabana for its waves pattern. These, in fact, are so famous they have their own flip flop design dedicated to them, and it features on all kinds of beach sarongs and other curio’s.

Life in Rio revolves around the beach to a large extent; even the favela kids play endless games of foot volleyball in the hope of being discovered. There are fisherman’s communities tucked away in the corners, there are open air gyms where bronze giants pump iron in the blistering sun, and of course the chances of spotting the Brazilian Olympic beach volleyball team on Ipanema, which is their base, are excellent.

This is the last of my Rio blogs, but let me leave you with an image that might want to make you pack a bag: a volleyballer practising a block, or as my brother Neel put it: “a member of the Brazilian National Hottest Ass Team” playing volleyball on the beach…

Image credits: All photography by me

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