Rio loves its beaches. White, fine sand, wide, surf, people playing volleyball or a volleyball variant played with feet and head.
Copacabana, probably the best-known beach in Rio, is not my favorite. Too wide, separated from the city with an enormous highway that is hard to cross, and too commercial. My favorites are Ipanema Beach, where I was also staying because it’s relatively safe, and little Praia Vemelha just below the Sugarloaf.
At the west end of Ipanema and very upscale Leblon, up on the side of a hill with ocean views to kill for, is a favela, just a few hundred meters from the richest part of Leblon. It is amazing how polar opposites in affluence can coexist right next to each other – and in fact that such a disparity can exist at all. Well, Rio is a very dangerous city.