Rio de Janeiro’s longest beach, a sprawling shopping mall and some of the city’s best seafood restaurants and bars await in this relaxed neighborhood.
Located a half-hour drive to the southwest of the city center, Barra da Tijuca is a relatively peaceful neighborhood, despite the fact that it offers the city’s longest stretch of beach. Once you have had enough sun, explore the bars, seafood restaurants, shopping malls and popular nightclubs of one of Rio de Janeiro’s hippest areas.
Start out on the southern rim of the neighborhood, where you will find 11 miles (18 kilometers) of uninterrupted beach. The unsheltered coastline of Barra da Tijuca makes it a popular place for various watersports, including surfing and kite surfing. On the eastern end of the beach, many people hang glide in the winds off the Atlantic. All of the equipment for these sports is available for rent from vendors near the beach.
Remote, sheltered beaches lie at both ends of Barra da Tijuca’s lengthy coastline. Head west into Prainha Municipal Natural Park, where you will find Grumari and Prainha beaches. These well-preserved beaches peek out from amongst the rainforest’s edge, so they are perfect for a peaceful day away from the traffic and crowds of more popular beaches. At Barra da Tijuca’s eastern end you’ll find Joatinga Beach. Sheltered by rocky cliffs canopied in dense foliage, this is a beautiful place to swim.
Head into the center of Barra da Tijuca. Developed in the 1980s, the neighborhood is filled with modern condos and upscale shopping malls. Explore BarraShopping, which connects with the nearby New York City Center Mall to make the biggest mall complex in the country. Go bowling or stick around until after sundown to dance to Brazilian funk at a neighborhood nightclub.
From downtown Rio, Barra da Tijuca is best reached by car, taxi or bus. If you want to explore all the area has to offer you’ll need to hail a taxi or rent a bicycle to traverse the beach’s entire length.