Ipanema Beach#4 in Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro
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Made famous by the well-known bossa nova song, "The Girl from Ipanema," this beach has drawn tourists since the 1960s. The 2-mile stretch of sand boasts gorgeous mountain views, beautiful Brazilians and cobalt waters. While sunbathing, you'll observe wildly entertaining games of futevolei (the Brazilian version of volleyball without hands) and smell fresh shrimp grilling nearby on skewers.
Cariocas will tell you that Ipanema's vibrant atmosphere is the place to see and be seen, so it's tailor made for people-watching. Catch locals playing frescobol, a tennis-like game without a net played with wooden paddles, or venture off the sand for an even bigger taste of local culture at nearby restaurants, shops and art galleries.
You can access the beach from the Ipanema neighborhood in Zona Sul. The beach is divided into areas known as postos (lifeguard stands). Ipanema reaches roughly from postos 8 to 12, with each stand offering changing rooms and restrooms for a small fee. Keep in mind Ipanema is one of the most popular beaches and is always crowded, so it can be difficult to find a spot in the sand during Rio's peak season (December to March).
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#1 Christ the Redeemer
This iconic landmark is a must-see attraction in Rio. Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this statue of Jesus Christ stands with arms outstretched to the city from above Corcovado Mountain's staggering 2,330-foot elevation.
Started in 1922 and completed in 1931, the monument — made of concrete and covered in soapstone mosaic tiles — stands 125 feet tall as a religious and cultural symbol of the Brazilian people's warm and welcoming culture. The monument rests atop Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park and is the most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro, visited by nearly 2 million people each year. Recent travelers recommend visiting on a day with clear skies since the vantage point is the best in the city.