Arpoador Beach features some of the best waves and finest views in Rio de Janeiro. Sandwiched between the much larger Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the small, 1,640-foot (500-meter) stretch of Arpoador Beach is marked by a giant rock formation that provides elevated views of the surrounding coastline. Dangle your feet over the South Atlantic Ocean as surfers carve up the waves below or time your visit to catch the perfect sunset.
Every summer, thousands of surfers and surfers-in-training come to the beach to ride the waves at Arpoador Beach, which is known as the birthplace of Brazil’s surfing culture. Rent a board from the beach-side tent or book a surfing lesson if you are inexperienced. Expert surfers should come back after dark, when spotlights set up along the beach light up the waves for night surfing.
Walk east along the promenade behind the beach to reach the foot of the rock formation at the beach’s east end. The beach bears the name of this rock, which got its name from the hunters who would spear passing whales from here; arpoador means “fisherman who harpoons.” Walk along the trails to reach the edge of the rock, although be wary of the cliffs at the south end.
On summer evenings, crowds gather on Arpoador Beach and its rock formation to watch the sunset. Since the beach is at the southernmost point of Ipanema Beach, the view here takes in the whole 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) stretch of that beach as well as the Morro Doie Irmãos (Two Brothers Hill) to the west of it. See the sun set over the dramatic silhouettes of the dual peaks. Often, the crowd breaks out into applause as soon as the sunset is complete.
Head into Parque Garota de Ipanema, a large wooded park just north of Arpoador Beach. Here, two skating bowls covered in intricate graffiti are situated at the top of a hill overlooking the beach.
Located at the center of Rio de Janeiro’s two most popular beaches, Arpoador Beach is easily accessible from the city center by bus, taxi or bicycle.