Neighborhood Description

Arpoador is a region located on the southern zone Rio de Janeiro, in a small peninsula between the popular beach neighborhoods Ipanema and Copacabana. It is not officially recognized as a neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro but a very popular place for tourists and locals to walk and have a drink.

Arpoador Beach is a small section of sand and rock (only about 500 meters long) at the upper end of Ipanema Beach and considered by many to be  Rio’s best surf spot. It is dominated by locals and professionals, and the crowds can be daunting. The beach comes to a point with large rocks that afford spectacular views up and down the coast down to Leblon Beach and Sao Conrado. Especially in the morning and late afternoon, when the light creates wonderful scenarios, you can take postcard perfect photos from there. The Arpoador rock itself is open to the public, with a number of walkways in place to make it easier to scale the rocks. All sorts of people visit the rocks including couples enjoying romantic moments, groups of kids smoking pot and watching the surfers, families with small children climbing about, and others watching the fishermen. This tiny neighborhood in the center of Rio’s famous coastline is pretty safe and many buses run through it to connect to Centro, Barra, and the rest of the Zona Sul (South Zone).

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Insider Tips

  • Forte de Copacabana

    Forte de Copacabana

    The old Copacabana Fort was built on a 28 acre rocky promontory that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and divides Copacabana and Arpoador Beaches. The Fort was constructed in 1914, on the site of Our Lady of Copacabana Chapel. It was constructed in the form of a hardened bunker, with the external walls facing the sea being 40 ft thick. When you enter the Fort, you will have nice views of the small Fishermen's Place and up the coast towards Leme Beach. When you reach the end of the Fort, you have fantastic views of the rocky coast down to the beginning of Arpoador Beach. It's a great place to bring a camera and take photos during the day, as the views are wonderful, and it's a safe and secured military area.

    Must do - The famed Confeiteria Columbo has opened a small cafe within the walls of the Fort. It's a pleasant place to have coffee, breakfast or lunch before heading back out of the Fort.