Ipanema is a neighborhood that summarizes the best Rio de Janeiro has to offer. There’s a legendary beach, a bustling nightlife, restaurants to write home about, the most sophisticated street shopping in town, cultural centers, museums, excellent hotels in all price ranges… Better yet, everything is in a walking distance, and it’s easy to find your way around. Streets are lined up in a grid, and you have the beach and Lagoa as your references. If you had only one day in Rio, and you want to experience the city like a local instead of a tourist, this is the place you would be heading to.
Most of what is known as Ipanema today belonged to aristocrat José Antonio Moreira Filho, the Barão de Ipanema. Ipanema means bad water in Brazilian Indian dialect, but since the name was inherited from the baron, it has nothing to do with our beautiful blue sea. Once the tunnel connecting Copacabana to Botafogo was opened, Ipanema was finally integrated to the rest of the city.
In 1894 Vila Ipanema was founded, with 19 streets and 2 parks. The neighborhood started to grow faster with the arrival of streetcars in 1902. Ipanema became a household name in the 1950’s and 60’s – it is the birthplace of Bossa Nova. The whole world learned about it with hit song The Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morais, both Ipanema residents.
Since then Ipanema is always setting new trends, and what happens here reverberates throughout the country. Take Banda de Ipanema, for instance. What started as a celebration among a few dozen friends ended up bringing a new life to Rio de Janeiro’s Street Carnival festivities. Today the parades attract as many as fifteen thousand, and many other neighborhoods have street bands of their own.
The first pregnant woman in a bikini was actress Leila Diniz in the 70’s, she lived on Rua Aníbal de Mendonça. The first men sunbathing in a bikini bottom was Fernando Gabeira at Posto 9 in the early 80’s. The first topless woman (who bothered asking? – 80’s), and the dental floss bikini (late 80’s) are among fashion statements that were made here first.
Ipanema has played an important cultural role in the city since its early days. There are major art galleries, universities, several schools, avant-garde theaters, art movie theaters, cyber-cafés… Do not be surprised to discover a cozy café with a web connection inside a bookshop or clothing store.
Fitness is also a big thing. Expect to run into juice shops every other block. People going into and coming out of the many state-of-the-art gyms. Activities offered sometimes include capoeira, you could well walk in and give it a shot. Keep your sunglasses on to better watch the sun-kissed girls and boys of Ipanema go by.
When the sun sets, the fun does not end. With an assortment of cafes, bars, and clubs there’s always something happening at night. Stroll around Praça da Paz, Baixo Farme and Baixo Quitéria. Watch a live music performance, crash a circuit party, sip a beer or fresh coconut under the stars at a beach kiosk. Gays and lesbians have their own beach spot, and enjoy venues and clubs on Rua Teixeira de Melo, Farme de Amoedo and surroundings.
BELOW INFO IS COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA
Ipanema is a neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador.
Ipanema gained fame with the start of the bossa nova sound, when its residents Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes created their ode to their neighborhood, "Girl from Ipanema." The song was written in 1962, with music by Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by de Moraes with English lyrics written later by Norman Gimbel. Its popularity has seen a resurgence with Diana Krall’s song "Boy from Ipanema" released in 2008.
Ipanema is adjacent to Copacabana Beach, but it is distinct from its neighbor. It is relatively easy to navigate because the streets are aligned in a grid. Private infrastructure has created world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. At the forefront of the beach culture are the many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.
Ipanema has played its own role in Rio’s culture since its beginning. It has universities, art galleries, theaters and cafes. Ipanema holds its own street parade during Carnival festivities, separate from Rio de Janeiro’s. Banda de Ipanema attracts up to 50,000 people to the streets of Ipanema for Carnival.
It is famously known for its elegance and social qualities. Two mountains called the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a locally invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and football.
In the winter the surf can reach nine feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto 10 (10th lifeguard tower) where young and often beautiful carioca men and women hipsters congregate.
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
Posto 9’s tradition began around 1980 when the present deputy Fernando Gabeira, came back from his political exile in France and was photographed there in a thong. He had been a political terrorist who, with his MR-8 mates, kidnapped the American ambassador in the sixties to release some political prisoners in Brazil, that was under a dictatorship at that time. In the eighties he became a political celebrity and his picture appeared on the front pages of all Brazilian newspapers together with his declarations that he was bisexual. His going to the beach at that spot made it famous throughout the country.
It inherited the status of a "cool and alternative" space in Ipanema beach from the area next to a pier that was demolished in the seventies, near Farme de Amoedo Street. It has a long history of pot smoking (illegal in Brazil), police raids, and left-wing, as well as alternative, gatherings.
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