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Sights in Copacabana

The waves crashing on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil As the most famous beach in South America, the beautiful Copacabana makes millions of people fall in love with the city of Rio each year. There is a higher concentration of hotels here than in any other neighborhood in town, and for good reason -white sand, smooth, inviting waters, and an array of charming kiosks and cafes in the area all await. Copacabana houses an extremely democratic, eclectic neighborhood, with million-dollar penthouses residing next to tiny studio apartments, and everything in between. With 160 thousand residents, it almost becomes a city of its own.

Copacabana is bursting with restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels, including the famous Copacabana Palace hotel, the most glamorous in Rio. With a beautiful neoclassical style, designed by the French architect Joseph Gire, this hotel has played an important social and cultural role in the city. Eva Peron, Nat King Cole, and Queen Elizabeth are just a few of the notables who have stayed here. If you can't afford to splurge on a room, treat yourself to a meal at their excellent restaurant Cipriani or have an afternoon tea by the pool.

It is surprising to think that Copacabana beach, now world famous for its string-bikini-clad women, originated as a small fishing village covered in shrubs. It wasn't until a new highway was built, opening it into the bigger surrounding city, that the neighborhood started to grow. Avenida Atlantica runs along the beach's entire length, and Nossa Senhora de Copacabana is the main shopping street. The beach is also popular for various sports like soccer and volleyball, which can be watched at arenas in the area, as well as sunbathing.

During New Years, the beach in Copacabana plays host to the biggest party in the world. This is the spot where Rio's famous New Years celebration takes place, attracting 2 million visitors annually from all over the world. Exquisite fireworks and an all night festival are truly a sight to see. The majority dress in white for tradition and good luck, celebrating the joys of life and a new year.
New Year's in Rio de Janeiro and the Candomble Faith

The Riotur office is also located in Copacabana, and may be a good stop for those interested in free maps and guide booklets. This is the place to find weekly listings of what is going on around town.

Sidewalk Mosaics
The mosaic sidewalks of Copacabana beach were designed by Burle Marx, Brazil's incredibly famous landscape planner. Each block has a unique pattern, and the sidewalk right next to the actual beach is designed in the signature black and white wave pattern that is now a trademark of Copacabana and all of Brazil.

Fort of Copacabana
At the corner of Copacabana and Arpoador is the famous Forte de Copacabana, the spot where many well-known photographs were taken. There are excellent views of Arpoador Park, and Ipanema and Leblon beaches if you take a short walk uphill. The Forte was built in 1908 by the military in place of the old Copacabana chapel. Cannons were placed in the rocks in order to protect the city from invaders. During the New Year's Festival you can see fireworks from the shores of the Forte.

Bairro Peixoto
Bairro Peixoto is a small square area where you can see the prime art-deco buildings. Mixed with Brazilian elements, these buildings create some very interesting architectural sites. The area preserves a small town atmosphere, with buildings no more then 4 stories high.

Fisherman's Corner
Tucked away at the Posto 6 end of Copacabana Beach near Copacabana Port, Fisherman's Corner, with the traditional selling of fish takes place, is a rather interesting sight. Here fisherman actually practice their simple trade right off the shores of one of the biggest metropolises of the world.

Lido
Situated between Copacabana Palace and Av. Princesa Isabel, this area has many important art nouveau and neoclassical buildings, which is an enchanting reminder of the prosperity of Brazil's Golden Age. Some masterpieces not to miss are Itahy on Av. Copacabana 252, which is famous for its mermaid statue. Lido also has a legendary nightlife, with famous strip clubs and bars such as Boite Holiday, Frank's Bar, Cicciolina, Pussycat, Scotch Bar, Niko's, and Baccara.

Barata Ribeiro 200
The area around this famous building is full of tiny, cheap apartments with an eclectic mix of people. Just blocks away from the beachside mansions are what locals call cabeca de porco (pig's heads), which are tiny apartments inhabited by many different kinds of people. The Barata Ribeiro 200 building became famous when a popular play was named after it, but apparently it became too famous because they later had to change the number to 194.

Lodging and Hotels
Copacabana offers a plethora of lodging options, especially if you are interested in a hotel. You will find some of the main hotels on this page:
Copacabana Lodgings


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