Authored by Yvonne Ivanescu
When you think about Rio de Janeiro, what instantly comes to mind? Did you say beaches?
Your plans will likely include the most famous beaches in Rio, though with a reputation for some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the city is so much more than Copacabana and Ipanema!
The following are secret beaches in Rio you may not have heard about – these may not be listed in guide books as landmarks or Rio de Janeiro points of interest, but each trip will prove incredibly worthwhile – they’re all hidden gems!
Secret Rio Beaches That You’ve Probably Never Heard About
Barra da Tijuca Beach
Barra da Tijuca is Rio’s longest beach, stretching a gigantic 11 miles (18 km) from the edge of Barra da Tijuca to the opposite edge of Recreio.
The surf is high and the tides are strong, making it the perfect area for extreme water sports. Long and short board surfing, body boarding, kite surfing and windsurfing are quite popular with championships in these sports being held here on a annual basis.
At the north end of Barra (metro station Jardim Oceânico) is Praia do Pepê, considered to be one of the trendiest beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The ocean breezes and the choppy water make this a perfect place to surf and kite surf.
In addition there is a rescue and support crew in the area which makes this beach one of the safest as well. And if your hungry, then make sure to head over to Avenida Olegario Maciel, a lively street filled with restaurants and bars the tickle anyone’s tastebuds.
It also has an abundance of beach kiosks if your craving a coconut water or a cold beer, or looking for Rio beach chairs.
Located right in front to the Sheraton Hotel, Vidigal beach is one of the few beaches in Zona Sul that offers tourists shade from the hot Rio sun.
The small stretch of sand was the playground of Vidigal favela residents until the Sheraton was built in the 1970s. Nowadays residents peacefully share the beach with Sheraton guests. Rio de janeiro all inclusive resorts.
If you aren’t a guest of the Sheraton, but staying at a different Rio hotel, the entrance is a little tricky to find – the stairs down to the beach are located here between the Sheraton and the entrance to Vidigal favela.
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of Ipanema or Copacabana, then make your way farther west along the coast to Prainha Beach, a stunning and incredibly quiet crescent-moon shaped beach surrounded by rainforest-covered mountains.
If you are feeling a little bit peckish, Prainha has a number of kiosks sprawled out on the beach or you can head to Bar e Restaurant Mirante da Prainha for some delicious and fresh seafood accompanied by a stunning view.
It’s a little hard to get to Prainha via public transportation, we recommend that tourists schedule a taxi in advance with a fixed rate that would drop you off and pick you up at specifically marked times. Weekends can get incredibly busy, so we would also recommend visiting during a weekday.
Praia Vermelha may be one of Rio de Janeiro’s smallest beaches, but it does have a lot to offer. Literally translated to English, it means red beach and derives its name from the reddish yellow sand found here.
Praia Vermelha lies in a cove between Morro da Urca and Morro da Babilonia. In fact, it’s right beside the cable car that you would take if you’re going to SugarLoaf Mountain.
The beach is best known for its calm waters and is a great location if your aching for a leisurely swim without having to fight a strong current.
Pro tip: After spending a day lounging around the beach, head over to Bar e Restaurant Urca – a classic restaurant in an iconic location overlooking the bay, serving fish and crab cakes with beer.
The waves and the current are strong, so you will see more surfers than swimmers here. But don’t worry, the real magic of this beach is the location.
Joatinga is located just 10-12 kilometres from Leblon in the neighbourhood of Joá. The beach is mostly frequented by locals and many arrive with their own coolers filled to the brim with food and beer as options are quite limited at the beach.
Get there early due to the position of the beach – the early hours of the day get the best sun. Also try to arrive before 11 AM if possible as the tide rises during the afternoon, therefore reducing the space on the beach. Before you head off to the beach, make sure to pack a bag of beach essentials.
Although not technically in Rio de Janeiro, Itacoatiara is located between the neighbourhoods of Itaipu and Itaipuaçu in Niterói, a city just across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. Located 20 miles (32 kilometres) from downtown Rio, it remains something of an oasis, visited almost exclusively by surfers and locals.
The beach stretches out for 700m and a big rock separates the beach into two different spaces. The first half is known as ideal for surfers as the waves and current are quite strong, while the remaining half (although not as large) is protected from the waves and is perfect for a leisurely swim.
The beach is also situated in a environmental protected area and is surrounded by hiking trails that will lead you inside the Serra da Tiririca’s State Park to the top of the surrounding hills where the views are truly breathtaking.
RIO BEACH BIKINI IN FASHION THIS SUMMER. CLICK PHOTO ↓
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Photo credits: Barra da Tijuca by