QUOTE(sqm @ Jul 9 2009, 04:44 PM)
"Girl from Ipanema" is one of my favourite songs. As such, I've always wanted to travel to Brazil to visit the beach. I haven't seen a lot of nice pictures of the beach, so I was just wondering what it's like? Is it clean? How's the sand? Crowded? How's the water quality?
I'm planning to go to Rio de Janeiro and I'm sure there's plenty to see and do other than just lounging at Ipanema Beach. But I'd just like to get a preview of it just in case it ends up being completely opposite from what I imagined.
I lived there for 5 months in 2007, and went back for New Year on Copacabana Beach this New Year. I love Rio...
Ipanema Beach is lovely and does have good sand. You'll meet every kind of Brazilian on Ipanema Beach - they all have different areas, determined by the flag posts. It does get pretty busy on the beaches in the city - because it's so convenient for the locals too.
By Brazilian law, any beach event has to be free, so while I was there living, I saw the Live Earth gig for free (Lenny Kravitz; Macy Gray and lots more) At New Year, the party and beach entertainment is also free and it is packed! These events take place usually on Copacabana Beach, with the famous Copacabana Palace as the backdrop. This is the next beach along from Ipanema, which is great, as you can party your socks off, then lounge on a nice clean beach the next day while they clean up Copacabana.
However, I have been told that there are much better beaches in Northern Brazil, which I can't comment on as I haven't been. I did go to Buzios which is slightly north of rio though, and it was indeed gorgeous (it rained all the time I was there, so unfortunately didn't get to enjoy the beach, but it was still gorgeous) Ilha Grande is a short bus and boat ride from Rio too (well...when I say short...about 5 hours in total!) and it is also gorgeous, plus the boat trips there are great as the water is so clear. And a bit further south on the mainland again, there is Paraty - lovely!!
I think I'd advise to go with an open mind so you aren't disappointed. It is busy due to its location, but Rio is a great experience overall, and if you want lots to do, plus some beach time, then it is ideal. There's also some other surf beaches around Rio that you can take a 'surf bus' to, and they are supposed to be stunning too, plus quieter if that's what you're looking for without going too far from Rio.
Have fun!! Have you booked yet??