Sao Conrado-stranden (Praia de Sao Conrado)
Sao Conrado-stranden (Praia de Sao Conrado)

Sao Conrado-stranden (Praia de Sao Conrado)

Rio de Janeiro

The basics

While most visitors gravitate towards Rio’s most famous beaches, like Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana, São Conrado Beach is a lesser-known stretch of seafront in the South Zone (Zona Sul) that’s well worth discovering. Known for its democratic mix of beachgoers—from the area’s well-heeled locals to residents of the nearby Rocinha favela—São Conrado is also celebrated for its big, surfer-friendly waves. Bounded by the Morro Dois Irmãos on one end and the Pedra da Gávea on the other, it also offers particularly dramatic views.

Swimming and sunbathing are popular ways to take in its scenery, although São Conrado also attracts adventure travelers: Hang gliders and paragliders taking off from the nearby Pedra Bonita ramp typically land on its soft sands. You can admire the beach on hiking or biking tours of the area's mountains or enjoy a birds-eye view on a helicopter flight.

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Things to know before you go

  • Because of its big waves and strong undertow, the water at São Conrado Beach should be approached with caution, and reserved for strong swimmers.

  • Though São Conrado Beach has fewer facilities than Ipanema and Copacabana, there are some kiosks that sell cold drinks and rent beach chairs and umbrellas.

  • São Conrado Beach is generally quite safe, but it’s advised to leave any valuables in your hotel room and to depart once it gets dark.

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How to get there

São Conrado Beach is located in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul, on the other side of the Rocinha favela from Leblon. The nearest Metrô station, São Conrado, is roughly 10 minutes from the beach on foot; numerous bus lines also serve the area. São Conrado can also be easily reached by taxi and rideshare services.

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When to get there

São Conrado Beach is a popular stop on weekends and holidays, though is generally quieter during the week. To enjoy the beach at its best, visit from November through March, when the weather is hot and sunny, and the sea is comfortably warm. Sunset offers particularly lovely views of the surrounding scenery.

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Where to get the best views of Rio de Janeiro

Among the largest seaside blocks of stone in the world, the soaring Pedra da Gávea offers some of the best views of Rio de Janeiro. Intrepid types can hike up the mountain via a direct trail, though note that this is an arduous climb, and you’ll need to scale a sheer rock face partway up. Still, the views make the journey worthwhile.

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