Ipanema (Portuguese pronunciation: ipaˈnẽmɐ) is an affluent neighbourhood located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador. The beach at Ipanema became widely known by the song "The Girl from Ipanema" ("Garota de Ipanema"), written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes.
The word "Ipanema" comes from the Tupi language and possibly means "stinky lake", from upaba ("lake") and nem ("stinky") or "bad water; river without fish" from "y" (water) and "panema" (bad).
Most of the land that Ipanema consists of today once belonged to José Antonio Moreira Filho, Baron of Ipanema. The word "Ipanema" did not refer originally to the beach, but to the homeland of the baron at São Paulo.
Ipanema gained fame with the start of the bossa nova sound, when its residents Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes created their ode to their neighbourhood, "The Girl from Ipanema." The song was written in 1962, with music by Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by de Moraes with English lyrics written later by Norman Gimbel. Its popularity has seen a resurgence with Diana Krall's song "Boy from Ipanema" released in 2008.
Ipanema is adjacent to Copacabana and Leblon Beach, but it is distinct from its neighbour. It is relatively easy to navigate because the streets are aligned in a grid. Private investment has led to the creation of world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. At the forefront of the beach culture are the many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.
Ipanema has played its own role in Rio's culture since its beginning. It has universities, art galleries, theaters and cafes. Ipanema holds its own street parade during Carnival festivities, separate from Rio de Janeiro's. Banda de Ipanema attracts up to 50,000 people to the streets of Ipanema for Carnival.
The beach of Ipanema is known for its elegant development and its social life. Two mountains called the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach, which is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere, along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a locally invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and football.
In the winter the surf can reach nine feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon, Rio de Janeiro is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto 10 (10th lifeguard tower).
The beach is one of many areas that suffers from the city's poor waste treatment. In its waters, 'fecal coliform bacteria sometimes spike at 16 times the Brazilian government’s “satisfactory” level.'
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
Large amounts of pollutants are dumped into the sea through the marine outfall pipe located near Ipanema, a matter of increasing concern to ecologists.
Beachgoers often applaud the sunset in the summer.
Posto 9's tradition began around 1980 when the present deputy Fernando Gabeira, came back from his political exile in France and was photographed there in a thong. He had been a political terrorist who, with his MR-8 mates, kidnapped the American ambassador in the sixties to release some political prisoners in Brazil, that was under a dictatorship at that time. In the eighties he became a political celebrity and his picture appeared on the front pages of all Brazilian newspapers together with his declarations that he was bisexual. His going to the beach at that spot made it famous throughout the country.
It inherited the status of a "cool and alternative" space in Ipanema beach from the area next to a pier that was demolished in the seventies, near Farme de Amoedo Street. It has a long history of pot smoking (illegal in Brazil), police raids, and left-wing, as well as alternative, gatherings.