Copacabana, Brazil | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Copacabana, Brazil

Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km (2.5 miles) balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.
The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the Tupi language, it means "the way of the socós (a kind of bird)") until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.

Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and the other, right after it: Diabo ("Devil") Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers go after its perfect waves, comes next, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four "Olympic Zones" during... Read more

Copacabana, Brazil


Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km (2.5 miles) balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.
The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the Tupi language, it means "the way of the socós (a kind of bird)") until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.

Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and the other, right after it: Diabo ("Devil") Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers go after its perfect waves, comes next, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four "Olympic Zones" during the 2016 Summer Olympics. According to Riotur, the Tourism Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro, there are 63 hotels and 10 hostels in Copacabana.


The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the Tupi language, it means "the way of the socós", the socós being a kind of bird) until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia. The name may be derived from the Aymara kota kahuana, meaning "view of the lake." The social scientist Mario Montaño Aragón found in the "archives of Indias" in Sevilla, Spain, a different history: "Kotakawana" is the god of fertility in ancient Andean mythology, the equivalent to the classical Greek goddess Aphrodite or the Roman Venus. This god is androgynous and lives in the Titicaca, and his court consists of creatures (male and female) that are represented in colonial sculptures and in Catholic churches. They were called "Umantuus", known as mermaids in Western culture.

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Get around Copacabana, Brazil

More than 40 different bus routes serve Copacabana, as do three subway Metro stations: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arcoverde.

Three major arteries parallel to each other cut across the entire borough: Avenida Atlântica (Atlantic Avenue), which is a 6-lane, 4 km avenue by the beachside, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue and Barata Ribeiro/Raul Pompéia Street both of which are 4 lanes and 3.5 km in length. Barata Ribeiro Street changes its name to Raul Pompéia Street after the Sá Freire Alvim Tunnel. Twenty-four streets intersect all three major arteries, and seven other streets intersect some of the three.

What to see in Copacabana, Brazil

No doubt the beach is Copacabana's main attraction.
​Besides, you can visit Forte de Copacabana.
The Morro do Leme offers breathtaking views.

What to do in Copacabana, Brazil

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana beach, located at the Atlantic shore, stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed. Hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dot the promenade facing Avenida Atlantica.
Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revellers during the annual New Year's Eve celebrations and, in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Copacabana promenade

The Copacabana promenade is a pavement landscape in large scale (4 kilometers long). It was rebuilt in 1970 and has used a black and white Portuguese pavement design since its origin in the 1930s: a geometric wave. The Copacabana promenade was designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

New Year's Eve in Copacabana

The fireworks display in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate New Year's Eve is one of the largest in the world, lasting 15 to 20 minutes. It is estimated that 2 million people go to Copacabana Beach to see the spectacle. The festival also includes a concert that extends throughout the night. The celebration has become one of the biggest tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro, attracting visitors from all over Brazil as well as from different parts of the world, and the city hotels generally stay fully booked.

What to eat and drink in Copacabana, Brazil


There are lots of various dining venues for every taste and budget. 


  • Cervantes, Av Prado Junior 335B - Copacabana. Famous for making their classic filet mignon and pineapple sandwich in the blink of an eye.


  • Cantina Donanna, Rua Domingos Ferreira 63-B - Copacabana. Italian cuisine. 
  • Carretão, Rua Siqueiro Campos 23 - Copacabana. Good-value rodizio - all-you-can-eat salad and barbecue. 


  • Restaurante Monchique, Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 796 - Copacabana, ☎ 21 2548-5140. Very good all-you-can-eat rodizio.


  • Bip Bip, Rua Almirante Gonçalves 50D - Copacabana, ☎ 021 2267-9696. 7 PM-1 AM. This unpretentious and thoroughly un-touristy hole-in-the-wall botequim has been a favorite hang-out of top local musicians for decades and hosts regular live choro, samba, and bossanova performances.
  • Bar Getúlio, Avenida Atlântica, 2334 - Copacabana, ☎ 2255-5272.
  • Clandestino, Rua Barata Ribeiro 111 - Copacabana. A European-style underground club: dark, dungeony and has a basement with a compact dance floor. What´s cool is that every Friday is Black Friday, which is when Brazilians and foreigners get down to hip-hop, Brazilian funk and other types of "black music". A great place to meet people. International beers and mixed drinks. They´ve got rock n´roll parties called Benflogin and also electronic partiers like LBF and Partiers Angels. 
  • Fosfobox, Rua Siqueira Campos 143 - Copacabana. "Fosfo" as it's nicknamed by the goers has a strong Saturday rock-oriented party. Young, trendy crowd with DJs playing mostly indie rock, disco-punk, and electro-rock. After 4 AM it has a more electronic after-party. Different parties happen on Fridays, but it's usually electronic, with favorite genres being electro, house and minimal. Other nights are usually more electronic also but has had Rock parties also on Thursdays. On Tuesdays, there's a dub/reggaeton party. 

Shopping in Copacabana, Brazil

  • Shopping Cidade Copacabana
  • Shopping Cassino Atlântico, Av. Atlântica 4240 - Copacabana, ☎ 21 2523-8709
  • Modern Sound, Rua Barata Ribeiro 502 - Copacabana. One of Brazil's biggest music shops. Sometimes there's also live music in the café.

Safety in Copacabana, Brazil

While the following information may panic you and also make you question whether to go or not to Rio, most visitors to the city have a great time with no incidents.

Still, Rio can be dangerous. As a traveler, even if you don't leave the "Zona Sul" (which includes Copacabana), you may experience a palpable tension over security.

Generally, tourists (also called "gringos," which is not derogatory but means "outsiders") and teenagers are considered "easy" targets for criminals. Day-to-day living has also been affected by this. For example, regular banks all have fortress style security doors and armed security men. Rio can be a dangerous city and it is wise to follow these rules even if they seem exaggerated.

In order to fully enjoy your trip, the traveler should pay attention to simple things. Avoid the downtown area, especially Saara, after dark. Although downtown is a relatively safe place during the day, after-dark all the people who work there have already gone home. If you are going to a theater or a show, it's all right; but do not wander in those dark streets by night. 

On Sunday, most shops are closed and their security guards are absent, so the neighborhood Centro is not safe in the daytime. Also, even the bigger streets in Copacabana are less safe after dark so the beach walk is probably the best option.

Should you find yourself being mugged, the normal advice applies:

Don't resist or do anything to aggravate the muggers. Try not to stare in their faces as they might think you are memorizing their appearance. Eyes to the ground is probably your best bet. Let them take anything they want (keep your arms limp). Afterward, leave the scene quickly but calmly (don't run in panic screaming for the police).

In the morning, especially before the police arrive, if you are walking or jogging on, Copacabana should be considered unsafe. Even with people around, joggers are popular targets for mugging. If you plan on jogging make sure not to wear anything that may tempt a mugger (watch, iPod, etc.) and if you can wait until after 10 AM.

When in downtown during the rush hour, be aware of pickpockets as in any other big city center. The difference in Rio is that the pickpocket can often be a bit violent: one of them pushing you forward in the bus or to the ground in the street while another one takes your wallet and runs away. It's not that usual or as bad as it sounds, but try to avoid being in real danger by reacting strongly as these guys often operate in armed groups (2-5 people), some unnoticed by you.

On weekends, the beaches in Rio are watched by helicopters.
In the area around Copacabana beach (and maybe in the city center), the tourist should be aware of a shoe shining scam. The tourist will be approached by a shoeshiner and to his astonishment discover a large, dirty blot on his shoes (which is actually shoe polish or mustard but looks like quite something else). The tourist is typically shown to a chair and has his shoes or sandals cleaned in the best manner. Only after this service is rendered, the outrageous price of somewhere around R$1000 or more is revealed. At this point, muscular friends of the shoeshiner typically appear to "oversee" the completion of the transaction.

The subway is fairly safe, so it is recommended to use it if you want to go from one place to another. Although you may be used to taking the handy and good trains in Europe or even in North America to go across many places, you won't need to take a train in Rio. If you do, it can be a fairly nice trip to the suburbs or a chaotic journey to a bad neighborhood in a train where people sell all kinds of weird stuff, where everyone will look at you in a way you will feel you are an alien, about to be mugged. Buses in the South Zone are fairly safe as well, but, in the city center, they can be quite crowded. Inside a bus, being mugged is always a threat: less so but still possible in the South and tourist zones. Always remember that Bus 174 movie. It happens so often that they don't even go to the news (only homicides or big cases where the police got involved such as this Bus 174 go to the news). In the subway, it is quite unlikely though, which is one extra point to the subway!

Don't walk around with lots of money in your pocket. ATM's are everywhere (prefer the ones inside shopping centers) and credit/debit cards are widely accepted. But don't walk around without any money: you may need something to give to the bad guys in case you are mugged. Not having money to give a mugger can be dangerous as they may get angry and resort to violence. An excellent idea is to buy a "capanga" (literally meaning bodyguard), that is, a small frontal unisex pouch, normally used to carry your wallet, checks, money and car keys.

Avoid wearing jewelry or other signs of wealth (iPods, fancy cell phones/mobiles, digital cameras, etc.) if possible, at any time of the day, as these attract attention. Thieves have been known to run past targets and tear off necklaces, rings, and earrings without stopping. Earrings are particularly dangerous as tearing them off often harms the owner.

In Brazil, every state has two police forces: the Civil (Polícia Civil) and Military (Polícia Militar). Only the latter wear uniform (in Rio, it is navy blue). The city of Rio also has an unarmed Civil Guard, dressed in khaki. Policemen can usually be trusted, but corruption in Brazil is still rampant and a few officers may try to extort you or demand a little bribe. When this happens, it is usually very subtle, and the officer may typically say something about "some for the beer" (cervejinha). If you are not willing, refuse and ask for another officer. Don't ever try to bribe a policeman on your own—most of them are honest and you might end up in jail.

The local emergency dial number is 190.

At night, especially after traffic has died down, you may hear what sounds like fireworks and explosions. This is not as menacing as it sounds, though it is still indicative of somebody up to no good. These are often firecrackers set-off as signals in the favelas. It might mean that a drug shipment has arrived and is in-transit or that the police are making a raid into the favela. It is a signal to gang operatives who act as lookouts and surrogate police to be extra-vigilant. However, real shoot-outs may occur, especially on weekends. If you are on the street and you hear a shooting, find shelter in the nearest shop or restaurant.

For your safety, cross at the crosswalks, not closer to the corner, and watch for cars regardless of traffic lights.

Carjacking can be a threat too, especially if you are outside the tourist areas and after dark. It is perfectly acceptable (even if not exactly legal) not to stop at the traffic lights if there is nobody else on the street and you feel it's okay to go (if there are no other cars). You will see even police doing this. Some major motorways such as Linha Amarela (Yellow Line: connects the west zone(Barra da Tijuca) to the north zone - may be your way to Norte Shopping for example) and Linha Vermelha (Red Line - the main connection from the International Airport) are strongly avoided late at night. Both motorways are surrounded by favelas, so carjacking is usual and shoot-outs may occur between rival drug lords or between drug lords and the police. If you rent a car, be aware of all these issues. As a tourist, it may be better not to rent one anyway, as if you get lost and go to a bad neighborhood (and again, there will always be one near you), you will most likely be in trouble.

Language spoken in Copacabana, Brazil

Portuguese is the official language. English is spoken in tourist places.


8:11 pm
May 27, 2022


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