7 Top Things to Do on Copacabana Beach
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7 Top Things to Do on Copacabana Beach

4 min read

Apr 27, 2012


By Bradley Nehring

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Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 11:50 am

7 Things to do on Copacabana Beach

Visions of samba, carnival, speedos and alegria flood a traveler’s mind at the mention of Copacabana Tour, Rio de Janeiro’s famous horseshoe-shaped beach neighborhood, and every tourist’s favorite stopping point to explore the “marvelous city”. Visitors to Brazil’s grand former capital often ponder whether to stay in Ipanema or Copacabana on a tour of Rio de Janeiro.

These two beach communities, intersecting at a near-90 degree angle, are both great options, however, first-time visitors are best served in Copacabana, lined with dozens of diverse restaurants and kiosks on both side of the Avenida Atlantica. Here are seven things you must do in Copacabana during your Brazil trip.

1. Take a morning walk along on the beach

First on our list of things to do on Copacabana beach is to take a morning walk along the beach! Join frolicking dogs and morning joggers for a pre-breakfast stroll along the uncrowded beach any time of year. Wake early for a morning stroll along Copacabana’s 4 km (2 ½ miles) u-shaped beach. Enjoy views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statues. A buffet of breakfast cakes, tropical fruits, and hearty meats awaits you back at your Rio hotel.

2. Enjoy a Guaraná above the waves

leme rock copacabana

Next up on our list is to enjoy Brazil’s favorite sparkling beverage, Guraná. The South American drink is made from the red Amazonian Guaraná berries, as you sit above the waves below the Morro de Leme, the big rock at the eastern end of Copacabana in the neighborhood of Leme. With the entire beach at your feet, witness the local boys diving off the rocks, fisherman bringing their catches, and the kiosks serving the catch of the day to happy, hungry clients.

3. A View from the Top

high-up viewpoint over copacabana

After enjoying the view, climb to the top of the “rock of Leme” for a panoramic view of Copacabana & Praia Vermelha (“red beach”) as well as Sugar Loaf Mountain looming over you just hundreds of meters away. Entrance (weekends only, nominal fee) is through the Forte de Leme, the military outpost anchoring this end of Copacabana. The walk up is relatively gentle and is shaded by tropical vegetation.

4. Military Peace

ruins of the old fort at copacabana

At the other end of Copacabana is the Forte de Copacabana. This relaxed military outpost and lifeguard training center hosts an interesting military museum. After seeing the exhibits, visit its sophisticated café, with views of the entire beach with Sugarloaf in the background.

5. Rock in Rio

meeting point between ipanema and copacabana

15 minutes west of the Forte brings you to the jutting rock formation Arpoador. Portuguese for “harpoonist”, Arpoador is where the natives used to hunt whales. Arpoador is the apex joining Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, with views in both directions.

6. Beyond the Copa

the ornate Teatro Municipal, Rio

After exploring Ipanema, consider jumping into Rio’s modern, efficient & fast Metro to return to one of Copacabana’s three stops. Then, continue to the historic downtown: alight at Cinelândia, home to Rio’s legacy of grand cinemas, cultural parks & plazas and the Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro’s eclectic Paris-inspired opera house. Your tour of Rio de Janeiro could include a performance of one of the great European masterpieces or a world-class classical concert in a unique location.

7. A Night of Stars


Last on our list of things to do on Copacabana Beach is to enjoy a night of stars. Your tour of Rio de Janeiro is not complete without a view of Copacabana by night. Finish your day at one of the kiosks on the beachside of Avenida Atlântica. “Deck Zero-Nove”, across from the Copacabana Palace Hotel, has a simple yet diverse menu. Enjoy a short selection of South American wines and local beers. Additionally, see the best nighttime views of this historic 5-star monument, harking back to its golden heyday when Carmen Miranda was a regular guest. Picture the starlet on her hotel balcony as the moon slowly melts into the Atlantic.

Want more? Browse our Rio de Janeiro Tours on our website, and contact us to create a custom tour of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil!

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