Ipanema beach is much, much more than a stretch of sand in Rio de Janeiro, up to the point that you need to start singing when you refer to it...
"Olha que coisa mais linda
mais cheia de graça
É ela menina que vem e que passa
nun doce balanço, caminho do mar.
Moça do corpo dourado, do sol de Ipanema O seu balançado é mais que un poema é a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar... "
Have you ever heard this song?...
If you dwell on planet Earth I'm sure you did, even when you may not remember its name: Garota de Ipanema (Girl from Ipanema).
It was a worldwide hit in the mid 60s, written by Vinicius de Moraes and music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the man behind bossa nova (Brazilian music style that evolved in the upscale beachside neighborhoods or Rio in the late 50s, as opposed to samba, whose origins were in the favelas- shanty towns).
The nicest version I keep comes from the 1963 album Getz/Gilberto (João Gilberto and Stan Getz), sung by Astrud Gilberto. Please keep it in your library if you haven't done so.
By the way, if you are a romantic soul that wants to go deeper into this charming district, check the Velloso bar at rua Vinicius de Moraes, where the song was written.
Because of that, Ipanema beach needs no introduction whatsoever, got immortalized through this song, becaming one of the top places to visit in Brazil and a Rio de Janeiro attraction in its own right.
Travel Channel referred to it as the sexiest beach in the world, what else is there to add? It's one of the top South American beaches. More than trendy, Ipanema beach is trendy setting, a very elegant and sophisticated neighborhood loaded with art galleries, theatres, cafes and superb eateries (try feijoada or the popular brazilian churrasco - if you eat beef) in the south part of Rio, adjacent to opulent Leblon and world famous Copacabana beach.
"Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers) mountains rise at the western end of the beach that starts getting crowded around mid-morning, the moment to join a soccer or a brazilian beach volleyball game, or indulge yourself into some "people watching" while having a beer, caipirinha or coconut milk right from its source.
Diminute bikinis or" tangas", dental-floss bikinis and G-string for men were born here, in this unique and spectacular beaches of Rio, the cidade maravilhosa nowhere to be found but in South America.
Furthermore, Posto nine (the beach is divided in Postos or lifeguards towers) is a famous gay-friendly area, with the rainbow flag flying in the air, as a show of the diversity that characterize brazilian culture as a whole.
Walk Ipanema beach in the early morning hours, watch the sunrise, feel the sand in your feet, listen to the ocean sounds and be patient, because over the next few hours you may turn out to be another lucky soul who has found his own girl from Ipanema.
Before you go, take a minute to check the best South American beaches...
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