Monday, 22 November 2010
Brazil's Top 5 Beaches: Ipanema
For all of Brazil’s growing influence on global politics, economics and culture, the country has one underlying, alluring quality: everyone wants to go there. With this mind, I’ve decided to launch the Born in Brazil (BIB) Awards. As well as continuing to focus on wider cultural topics, BIB will acknowledge Brazil’s best beaches, hotels, activities, restaurants, etc so that you can best plan a trip there. Travel tips, including which travel agents to choose and climate information, will also feature. To begin with, the awards will focus on the south of Brazil, from Rio to Florianopolis, where I recently travelled for a month. And what better category to start with than the Top 5 Best Beaches. Each day this week, I will share with you one of my favourite beaches in Brazil. But the idea is that you share too. If you have any beaches to add, please do and don’t forget to include photos. Any tips – on the beaches I will unveil this week or on others you know of – please share. Beach 1: Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro If tranquillity, pristine white sand and crystal clear waters are a pre-requisite to a beach holiday, then don’t go to Ipanema. But of all the beaches I’ve been to – and the above often form part of my beach criteria – this is one of my favourites. It’s possibly the most fun beach I’ve ever visited and a microcosm of life in Rio; Ipanema is not exclusive and belongs to everyone. The beach itself is segmented into “postos” to cater for the different groups of people that visit this stretch between Copacabana and Leblon. I’d recommend postos 8 and 9, loosely reserved for gay men and artists respectively – they are the more chilled out parts of the beach and you don’t get kicked out if you’re not a gay man. I’d also recommend embracing the right beachwear. Brazilian bikinis may seem small, but they’re not that bad. In fact, you’ll be more self-conscious if you wear a standard one – no-one else does. Finally, take nothing with you but a towel and some small change; I had no problems at all while I was there but the beach is crowded and anything valuable is likely to disappear by the time you get back from jumping the huge waves.