Thinking of Rio, the first image that comes to mind is of the sandy beaches, the sun and the 'Girl from Ipanema'. Beach culture is prevalent in all of Brazil, and nowhere is bigger or more impressive than in Rio de Janeiro. The beach culture in Brazil is a scene for fashion and trend setting. It's not just about enjoying the sun, but also a social occasion. It is a chance to meet, socialize and for participating in sports like volley ball, soccer and surfing. Even during the winter and in poor weather, the Cariocas, as the locals are known, frequent the promenade.
Wedged on a strip of land at the foothills of Rio is one of the world's greatest beaches, Copacabana. This highly populated region reverberates with a non-stop party atmosphere. Beach partying is a ritual here for the young and old alike. With an array of bars and nightclubs, there is always something happening on the beach, day or night. All along the 5 km beach, clusters of people sleep and sunbathe under umbrellas and in the white sand.
Lifeguard stations, called 'postas' are numbered and stretch along the length of the beach. The Copacabana beach stretches from Princesa Isabel Avenue to the lifeguard watchtower six, Posto Seis, near the Forte de Copacaban.
South of the city of Rio de Janeiro, lying adjacent to the Copacabana beach is the district of Ipanema. The beach at Ipanema is lined with world class restaurants cafés and shopping malls. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places in Rio and the symbol of Brazilian pleasure and wealth. It is frequented by affluent Brazillian youth as well as tourists.
Two hills known as the 'Two Brothers' are located at the western end of the beach. The beach is also marked into segments with points known as postos. Ipanema beach has several favorite hotspots with each block attracting a different type of crowd. There are always people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a combination sport unique to Brazil. The beach at Ipanema was immortalized in the song, "Girl from Ipanema" by Carlos Jobim.