Nowhere else is beach life enjoyed like the famous
beaches of Rio. Copacapana, Ipanema, Leblon, Flamengo, Botofoga are packed with
pleasure seeking Cariocas any day any time
How to live like a Carioca?
To find out more
about this I took a walk on the Copacabana, one of Rio`s famous beaches. It is
their way of life, and they have their own funny rituals! Copacabana is often
referred to as the world's most famous beach. It runs for 4.5 km in front of the
densely populated residential area of Rio de Janeiro.
Photo. Copacabana street is full of life, but it is
more interesting to take a step further to the beach.
Long before, but also after that I read about the famous British train robber
Ronald Biggs` licentious, sweet life in Rio, I wondered about how the life there
really was. Finally my boyhood dream became real.
In 1993 I set my first step barefoot on the famous Brazilian beach Copacabana
in Rio. The smiles, girls and joy at Copacapana are something quite overwhelming
and impossible to resist. Whether you want to take it all in by the eyes or
engage in football or other activities, the life and sheer pleasure really gets
Copacabana is famous for its pretty and nice girls. There are many of them
uniquely lush, and golden beauties. You can meet them from different races and
colours as brancas, negras, mulatas and morenas. Don't forget to smile, and you
will get a smile back. This beach is the main place for Rio's famous New Year's
celebration. It attracts over 2 million people from all over the world.
During the summer, international championships of beach soccer, volleyball
and other sports are arranged in arenas along Copacabana Beach. If you don't
want to sunbathe, you can ask the Cariocas to join them in playing football or
attend in other kinds of activities. Foot-volley is very popular. It is similar
to volleyball. You play it with net, but you are not allowed to touch the ball
with your hands.
Photo. Playing football together with the
Samba is the Carnival beat, but you can hear the music all around, throughout
the year. This music and dance is an important part of the Cariocan lifestyle.
Caution! Theft is a problem at the beach. Don't take any valuable belongings to
the beaches, or walk down by the water at night!
Some beach kiosks are open around the clock, which offer refreshments and
snacks. There are also many street sellers who walk around and offer some things
to eat and drink. You can cross the street and explore the beachside cafes,
restaurants, hotels and night clubs along the street Av. Atlantica. Sitting
outdoors at a restaurant, both in the daytime and in the evening, attracts many
strange people who want to sell you everything.
I have never in my whole life met so many strange people and got so many
strange offers. In the beginning I considered it a form of entertainment, it was
a little bit funny, but after a while it becomes annoying. The best way to avoid
too much traffic is to look another way. In the worst scenario, if they
interrupt your dinner, be polite and make it clear immediately that you don't
Photo. Street sellers sells everything, believe me,
I mean everything literarly!
How are the Cariocas really?
According to linguists, the term Carioca, as locals call themselves, is not
derived from the word Rio, as in carioca. It is actually a Tupi Indian term
(kara'i oca), roughly meaning "white house", or "house of whites". This name is
used on the houses built by the Portuguese. For some reasons the Portuguese
started to think of themselves as Cariocas.
If you want to make friendship with the locals, there are some things you
should be aware of. First of all, you have to be patient with these people. Be
aware that unless you are talking about business meetings, half an hour late
means on time. The Cariocas are very flexible regarding appointments, which can
drive you nuts sometimes, but cool down and try to solve the matters in the most
appropriate way. The Cariocas are very open about sharing feelings, and they
like to touch each other. Two kisses on the cheeks are how most boys and girls
greet in informal situations. You should be prepared for showing them respect in
Photo. Copacabana beach is for people who want to
have great fun.
The nightlife around the Lido
quarter is something unique. Not everything will match everybody's taste here,
but anyway take a look in to a strange world. In the area you find some of Rio's
most famous strip clubs and bars. Over all you can see neon signs at the doors,
and photos of dancers in erotic postures. In other parts of the area you can
find pubs and bars as Boite Holiday, Frank's Bar, Cicciolina, Pussycat, Scotch
There's enough variety for everyone's desires. It is said that the name
Copacabana has a Bolivian origin. Historians trace it to a XVII century image of
Our Virgin Lady of Copacabana, and brought by the Portuguese from a small
village around distant Lake Titicaca. It was set up in a chapel that became
demolished for the construction of Forte de Copacabana. To better understand the
diversity of the colourful beach life here, I suggest that you take your time,
and spend many days exploring all possibilities.
Copacabana has many things to offer, and is a place where everyone can
have fun. You can take a walk along the beachside to get a quick overview. You
don't have to be born in Rio to be a Carioca. All you have to do is relax and
adapt to the city's lifestyle, and soon you will become one. And you will get
many new friends, especially on the playground Copacabana
. Don't worry, be
Stein Morten Lund, 17 August 2000
Read more about exciting
and beautiful beaches on our website.