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No Visit to Rio de Janeiro is Complete without a day or two in the Streets of Ipanema.


About a 100year's ago, Ipanema was just marshy ground; a breeding place for mosquitoes. No one wanted to live there and accessibility was hard. Today it is one of the most famous and alluring places in the city with hardly any land left for further construction. This is the place from where Bossa Nova grew and the girl from Ipanema, Helen Pinheiro walked. The music of Tom Jobim  and Vinicius de Moraes made this place famous around the world. From here also Tropicalismo, better known as the use of thongs and going topless, was born. As the place is also gay friendly, its appeal is high among members of alternative society.


Tourist Attractions

Ipanema is a very cosmopolitan neighborhood, where people of different cultures, from various regions and contrasting backgrounds can be found. The beach is undoubtedly the place to be and a visit to one of its ends where the Arpoador Stone is located should not be missed. It is here that the locals and tourists gather to watch the most awesome sunset. The view of the setting sun is so magnificent that the locals clap their hands at the end of it in gratitude to the sun for this impressive show.

For those who are into the history of gems, a visit to the museum of H. Stern is recommended. Learn about the history of precious and semi-precious stones from Brazil and browse through the company's store.

Another popular attraction is the Hippie Fair that takes place every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Enjoy eating acarajé, which is a fried pastry stuffed with spicy shrimp and other ingredients. Try the Açal also, a fruit from the Amazon that has become like a raging fever in Brazil. It can be got at any of the several juice stores, which are not hard to find. Also enjoy the various works of art and most importantly do not forget to buy souvenirs.

You can also take a walk through the galleries on the Visconde de Piraja, Garcia Davila and Anibal de Mendonca streets, where the best shops in the neighborhood can also be found.

Ipanema’s Culinary Hotspots

It is no idle boast that Ipanema has some of the best cuisines from different parts of the world. On almost every street, restaurants catering to every budget can be found. For those who do not mind spending more when it comes to eating well, Satyricon and Fasano al Mare are the best for seafood. Also, try the 'eat all you want' scheme at the branch of the famous steak house, Porcäo, which is considered one of the best in the chain. Their Brazilian barbecue, salad bar and hot dishes are undoubtedly the best in town. Galani, located in the Cæsar Park Hotel is good for Brazilian Feijoada and if your desire is to eat the 'truth', then try Mama's Italian food Gero restaurant, which is the most famous and quoted in the city.

At Frontera, Aipo and Aipim the rates are more moderate, but they are still good. The last one offers the best quality in Brazilian food. Visit Delírio Tropical for its vast range of salads and entrees.

Remember that visiting Ipanema and not going to a juice store is almost like committing a crime. So be sure to try out the different tropical juices and try the Queijo Minas, a Minas cheese sandwich in toasted bread.

Ipanema by night

Like the shopping and restaurants, the nightlife in this neighborhood is also great. There are options to suit every taste and budget, ranging from quality bars to exclusive nightclubs. On weekends, long queues can be seen outside most of these places.

Belmonte, the bar located at General Osório Square is a great place. The strength of this place is its cold draft beer, empadas and pastries that are revered by the locals. From Thursday to Sunday, the Baretto-Londra bar, located in the Fasano Hotel is the place to be. Their drinks are the most praised and bruschettas are the most requested appetizer. From 9 p.m., a DJ enhances the ambience with music that gets the crowds into a frenzy.

For the GLS public, the street Farme de Amoedo is preferred. Its bars are always full, as are the Bofetada and Devassa. Ipanema is an oasis for nightclub lovers. Baranoetti and Boox are for the younger crowd and the famous club Dama de Ferro and W are more for the alternative types, as well as being partial to the gay community.


Practical Tips From a Carioca

Getting some tips from the locals is always welcome and useful and here in Ipanema there are plenty.

Coconut water and Caipirinha drinks are typical of the place. Drink your first one in a kiosk and your second in a bar. It is not recommended to eat shrimp while on the beach as it tends to spoil fast due to the sun and makes it a sort of villainous type of food. Instead, try some grilled cheese, empadas and sandwiches, which can be washed down with Mate, known as the elixir of the Gods. It is very refreshing on a sunny day and is neutralized with a little lemon juice. Walking vendors sell it in gallons.

Beach chairs and sun tents are available for rent and cost around 2$. If you need to use the toilet or wash your feet, use the Stations or Postos in Portuguese, which can be found on the sidewalks marked with large numbers. They stretch from Ipanema 7 on the Arpoador side to 10, which is in front of the country club.

The locals have many favorite beach sports. Footvolley is a variation of volleyball and Frescobol is played with rackets. Altinha is also played, here the players position themselves in circles and the ball should not fall down in the sand. Only your legs, shoulders and head can be used, not your hands.

A great way to move around Ipanema is to rent a bike. Do it if you have the time and visit the Lagoon, Copacabana and Leblon. Bikers can use the bike lanes which are in good shape in the area.

Accommodation in Ipanema

Compared to Copacabana, Ipanema has higher priced hotels, as it does not have as many as its neighbor does. However, there are plenty of options for the discerning traveler.

For those who can afford a little more there is the Fasano and Cæsar Park. Fasano belongs to a renowned Brazilian family that has been in the business foryear's. It is known as a boutique hotel, because the guests are treated differently and the décor is of the highest quality. The famous Matthew McConaughey and Madonna have stayed there. The beautiful view of the pool and their suites can leave anyone awestruck.

The Mercure, Best Western (Sol Ipanema) and Ipanema Plaza (Golden Tulip), combine the standard of an international hotel with comfort and good service. For more moderate options and quality service, The Ipanema Inn and Arpoador Inn are worth considering.

Youngsters who like to spend less and still have fun in a relaxed atmosphere can try the many hostels like the Rio Hostel Ipanema, the Ipanema Beach Hostel and  Adventure House. They are all highly sought after by the more energetic crowd.

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