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Botafogo, Urca & Copacabana

The urban spice of Carioca life lies here...

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Botafogo, Urca & Copacabana

The trick to getting your bearings in Rio is to work out where you in relation to the Lagoa, the central lake that acts as a pivot point around which Zona Sul’s neighbourhoods revolve. East of the Lagoa lies the neighbourhoods of Copacabana, Botafogo and Urca.
Copacabana beach itself is still an experience, despite being a hot-pot for first-time visitors, it offers a snapshot of all characters from Carioca life, including walnut-wrinkled octogenarians who have been tanning on the same patch of sand since Elvis was in the charts. Still, it’s certainly authentic, especially around Posto 6 at sunrise where you can greet the fisherman as they come in on their little boats and buy your catch-of-the-day direct.Slip inland to Urca and you’ll find the little beach of Praia Vermelha set below the iconic Sugar-Loaf mountain, a must-visit even once in your life, and the beginnings of Guanabara Bay, where the boating folk mingle at the Yacht Club and life shifts into a quieter gear.

Finally, on route to downtown, Botafogo is where urban hipsters hang, combining a gourmet dining hub with entrepreneurial openings from the city’s emerging creative talents. The beach itself is best avoided - unless you fancy a run - but there are more than enough beer-bars to slip into the local scene.

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