4 different ways to discover Rio’s beautiful beaches

Rio is famous the world over for its golden stretches of sand.

Especially the long strip at Copacabana, so any trip to the vibrant city will involve plenty of beach time. In between sunbathing, laid-back beach games and enjoying the people watching, there are plenty of ways to explore the coastline. Here are our favorite things to do in Rio de Janeiro that get you out of your Copacabana hotel and off your towel while still letting you soak up the splendor of the area’s best beaches.

Take a hike.

The beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana get the most frequent shout-outs, but venture into wilder areas of Rio and you can stumble upon slices of coastline that are virtually untouched. Lace up your hiking shoes and spend a half-day trekking with the guides at HardCore Sports to 5 secret beaches only accessible on foot or by boat. As you navigate oceanfront trails down to Grumari, Buzigos, Perigoso, Meio Funda, and Inferno, relish some time on the soft sand where the only sound is the waves crashing on the shore.

Bike the beaches.

For a taste of Rio’s scenic waterfront, hop on a bike tour with Gray Line Brazil and pedal your way past the city’s famous beaches and ritzy real estate. Start at Ipanema Beach, immortalized in Tom Jobim’s beloved song “Girl From Ipanema,” and feel the balmy ocean breeze on your face as you cruise by the tree-lined canal of the Jardim de Alah and head into the affluent Leblon area. Finish with a ride around the turquoise Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which is flanked by the upscale neighbourhoods of Gávea, Jardim Botânico and Lagoa.

Go canoeing.

If you’re looking to balance out the indulgences of vacation with some exercise-centric beach activities, Gray Line Brazil’s outrigger canoeing tour will get your blood pumping while you scope out Rio’s spectacular coastline from a different perspective. Launch from Urca Beach, and then admire the views of rainforest-covered mountains and tiny, uninhabited islands as you paddle over to Forca Beach, where you can cool down with a swim right at the foot of the majestic Sugarloaf Mountain.

Try a sightseeing cruise.

From the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to the pristine white sands of Copacabana, the sprawling, cerulean Guanabara Bay is framed by some of Rio’s most well-known sights. Sit back and sail around these picturesque waters on a Gray Line Brazil cruise filled with views of the vibrant city center—and its many beaches, of course.  Keep your camera handy for amazing photo ops of landmarks like the 16th-century Fortaleza de Santa Cruz de Barra and the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the southern hemisphere.

There’s no shortage of ways to see and experience the beaches that have made Rio a world-class vacation destination. With a variety of beachy activities to mix up your downtime, you can revel in the sunshine and seaside scenery to your heart’s content.

Where to stay

The beauty of Rio and its famous Copacabana Beach don’t come out just during the long, sunny days. The city comes to life at night, so it’s well worth spending a few days here to experience all aspects of the culture. The Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana, the Belmond Copacabana Palace, and the Miramar Hotel by Windsor are great places to stay. What’s more, all three are Expedia +VIP Access hotels, meaning they’ve received exceptional guest ratings and reviews.

The Hilton Rio de Janeiro provides a front-row view of the lapping waves and golden sand. Overlooking Copacabana Beach, this regal hotel is just a few steps from all the seaside action. Spend an afternoon lounging at one of the two poolside bars, because nothing says vacation like a chilled cocktail and a dip in the pool, surrounded by blue skies and palm trees. Take advantage of the beachside service along the waterfront, and when it’s time to take a break from the sizzling sun, pamper yourself at the lavish on-site spa. Once the sun sets, venture over to the nearby nightlife to relish the after-hours scene.

Belmond Copacabana Palace

The Belmond Copacabana Palace is another gem located on the sandy shores of Copacabana. The grandiose, Art Deco hotel provides the royal treatment to ensure your getaway is one for the books. The half-Olympic-sized swimming pool is a glamorous oasis, where you can lounge in the shade and nibble on hors d’oeuvres, while the rooftop tennis court invites you to tap into some friendly competition with ocean views as your backdrop. Between indulging at the Copacabana Palace Spa and shopping at the on-site boutique, you’ll find yourself avoiding check-out time.

Miramar Hotel by Windsor

Then there is the Miramar Hotel by Windsor, which promises to deliver the comfort and luxury you expect on a tropical vacation. The ultimate seaside retreat, this glam accommodation provides on-call butler service to make sure your every want and need is covered. The on-site eatery, Restaurant Sa, serves multicultural cuisine with views of Copacabana’s boardwalk, and the infinity edge pool is where you’ll find the ultimate serenity. You’ll even have access to the fitness room, which is located on the rooftop terrace, overlooking the ocean. Make reservations at this oceanfront hotel, and you won’t be disappointed.

There’s no shortage of ways to see and experience the beaches that have made Rio a world-class vacation destination. With a variety of beachy activities to mix up your downtime, you can revel in the sunshine and seaside scenery to your heart’s content.

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