Praia Vermelha, Urca, and Sugarloaf - All in one day !
by Joey D.
Praia Vermelha and restaurant seen from nature trail
My girlfriend and I had limited time to spend in Rio on our last visit. We wanted to do some sightseeing, hit the beach, and grab an early dinner - all in the same day. Our funds were also limited, making the it an even more challenging agenda.
We heard about the smaller city beach Praia Vermelha, and it's proximity to the cable car that takes tourists up to Sugarloaf Mountain. We also read about the safe and quaint Urca neighborhood that was nearby, and it is where Carmen Miranda had lived.
So that morning, we jumped on a city bus in front of our hotel on the Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana Beach. It had a placard on the front of the bus that read "Urca", and within 10 minutes the driver dropped us off right on front of the Praia Vermelha.
The weather was sunny, so we decided to go up to Sugarloaf early, to get a clear view of the city. It was great and we spent a couple hours up there before returning to the bottom and Praia Vermelha. We had bought snacks from the vendors at the square and then walked out and back on the nature trail. The monkeys must have been sleeping that day as we saw just one or two.
We then laid out on the beach and got in the water a couple times. We heard that the water could be dirty there, but the lifeguards told us it was safe and clean that day, and they were right. The water was a lot calmer than on Copa Beach and there were very few people in the water or on the beach in general. It was mostly families with kids and couples.
We didn't really want to leave the beach, but after a couple hours we decided to take the Lonely Planet walking tour of the adjacent Urca neighborhood. We took a lot of pictures and ended up at Bar Urca, and enjoyed beers and appetizers.
To our surprise, there was a city bus stop right in front of Bar Urca, where bus drivers would stop and change shifts. Just before dark we hopped back on a city bus marked "Copacabana via Orla" (Orla I think means coast). In 15 minutes we were back in front of our hotel.
Man that was easy and we'd do it again on a weekday, especially since the beach was quiet and the water was calm. We felt very safe the entire time and it didn't cost very much.
From the Editor;
Great review Joey! For those readers who would like more information about this beach , please visit our Praia Vermelha page.