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Leme and Copacabana RJ Travel Guide

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Leme and Copacabana together form the graceful curve of coastline that rum from Pedra do Leme (Leme Rock) to the walls of Forte de Copacabana (Copacabana Fort).

Avenida Princesa Isabel, the main route into the area from the city center, serves as the divider between the two neighborhoods.

Each district has a distinct character: while Lerne is calm and quiet, with a tiny beach frequented mostly by families, lively but slightly run-down Copacabana, with its high concentration of hotels, restaurants, and stores, draws travelers from all over the world.

The main thoroughfares in the area are Avenida Atlantica, Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, and Rua Barata Ribeiro.

Several bus lines run through the neighborhoods, and there is no shortage of taxis.

There are no metro stations serving Leme, but there are hvo in Copacabana (Cardeal Arcoverde and Siqueira Campos).

Map of Leme and Copacabana

Map of Leme and Copacabana


Map of Leme RJ

Map of Leme RJ


Leme Beach is a little over half a mile long, running from Avenida Princesa Isabel to Pedra do Leme (Leme Rock).

The water at Leme is generally cleaner than at Copacabana, and is usually suitable for bathing.The best waves for surfing are at the end of the beach closest to Pedra do Leme.

The volleyball nets dotting the beach are free and open to the public. One of the most popular meeting spots for locals is Axe, a kiosk in front of the Iberostar Copacabana hotel that serves appetizers and juices made to order.


This large rock at one end of Leme Beach is an ideal place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset, In addition to its various climbing paths, the rock is ringed by the Caminho dos Pescadores, a walkway often occupied by fishing enthusiasts, Kiosks (some open 24 hours) that sell fish and seafood surround the access area leading up to the rock. Sundays feature live samba


This fort was built in 1779, but only later named for the duke and military figure who gained fame in the war against Paraguay.

The path to the fort is an attraction in itself the steep 20-minute climb to the top of Pedra do Leme rewards visitors with a panoramic view of the Copacabana shoreline, Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado and the Christ statue, the favela of Morro da Babilonia, and even pam of Tijuca Forest.

The remaining fortifications include underground passages and cannons.

There are walking trails in the immediate area. Praҫa Almirante Julio de Noronha, Leme.


This tennis dub was founded in 1927 by several employees of the electric company Companhia Carris, Luz e Forҫa Rio de Janeiro (now known as Rio Light SA).

Situated on one of Leme's nicest, quietest streets, Rua Gustavo Sampaio, the club has four clay tennis courts, two squash courts, a multi-sports courts, swimming pools, and a games room, plus a bar and restaurant.

However, the club's biggest attraction by far i its private stretch of perfectly preserved Atlantic forest.

Visitors an admitted for a fee, but only if invited by a member. Rua Gustavo Sampaio, 74, Leme.


The favela of Morro da Babilonia rose to fame in the 1950s, when it served as the setting for Marcel Camus's film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus).

Based on the play of the same name by Vinicius de Moraes, the film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959, Forty years later, filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho also chose Babilonia as the subject of his documentary about favela life, Babilonia 2000, Ari Barroso, composer of the song Aquarela do Brasil, once lived in the favela. For safety reasons. we do not recommend you visit Morro da Babilonia.


Princesa Isabel Avenue and Tunel Novo (New Tunnel) are the main routes into Copacabana and Leme.

The tunnel is one of the first in Rio, opened in 1906 by then-mayor Pereira Passos.

Avenida Princesa Isabel, which separates Copacabana from Leme, begins immediately at the tunnel's exit. At the intersection with Rua Barata Ribeiro is a statue of composer João de Barro (better known as Braguinha), one of the biggest names in Brazilian music.


Map of Copacabana RJ

Map of Copacabana

Copacabana puts all the contradictions of Rio de Janeiro on vibrant display: sophisticated buildings share space with blocks of cramped studio apartments; well-known celebrities and anonymous locals mingle on sidewalks designed by DurIe Marx; high-end hotels stand next to simple corner bars; tiny but charming food stores pop up on every corner, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with the neighborhood's many fancy boutiques.

Despite promising beginnings, however - composers Braguinha and Alberto Ribeiro once christened Copacabana "Princess of the Sea" - the area has lost some of its charm, due largely to the increase in prostitution and sex tourism and a decline in the middle-class population.

Nevertheless, the neighborhood is still home to the glamorous Copacabana Palace Hotel, and still takes center stage in Rio's vibrant New Year's Eve celebrations.

Copacabana also boasts countless hotels, fine examples of art deco architecture, and numerous art galleries, antique stores, shops, bars, and restaurants.


The stretch of beach from Posto 2 to Posto 6 (these lifeguard posts are spaced along the beach and serve as localization markers) exemplifies the true carioca (meaning "from Rio") spirit.

Home to around 20,000 people, Copacabana buzzes day and night - in crowded kiosks, at volleyball games, along the beachfront promenade and cycle paths, and in the crowds that throng to big-name summer shows. Copacabana is the beach favored by older locals, who walk and exercise there.

The stretch in front of the Copacabana Palace, at Posto 3, attracts many (mostly foreign) tourists, and is considered by many a magnet for petty crime. This part of the beach gets very crowded on weekends, due largely to its proximity to the Cardeal Arcoverde metro station.

At Posto 4, children and teenagers can take soccer classes at Escolinha de Futebol do Júnior. in front of Rua Figueiredo Magalhães.

The best, least crowded stretch of Copacabana is at Posto 5, particularly the area in front of Rua Constante Ramos. The final section of the beach, at Posto 6, is particularly quiet, with fishermen selling what they catch on the spot.

At Posto 6 you'll also find a statue of the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade sitting on a bench. Though born in Minas Gerais, Andrade lived for some time in Copacabana, and would spend the afternoons looking out to sea in front of Rua Rainha Elisabete.

Do not carry valuables or large sums of money while walking along the beach at Copacabana. And be prepared to be mobbed by street vendors, who tend to flock like seagulls around anyone walking along the beach.


Originally opened in Leme, in 1933, this pharmacy moved to Copacabana twenty years later (but never changed its name).

Locals have a special place in their hearts for the establishment, which sells all kinds of medication and cosmetic lines.

One of the staff members, Zé da.Medalhas, has become something of a local celebrity.

A resident of Avenida Prado Júnior for forty years, Zé is immediately recognizable by the medals he wears round his neck, and is known for the stories he loves to tell about the neighborhood. Avenida Prado Júnior. 237-A and B, Copacabana.


This square was created in 1919 and took its name from one of the city's most elegant restaurants, Lido, which opened on the square in 1922 and was for years a symbol of the neighborhood's glamour.

The square was refurbished in the 1960s, when it acquired a bust of the 19th -century painter brothers Rodolfo and Henrique Bernardelli, who lived in the area. Nowadays the square is a meeting place for children and older residents.


This beautiful forest reserve is right in the middle of Copacabana's hustle and bustle; its ecology reflects that of the once-dominant forest that stretched along the Atlantic coast of Brazil

The park is home to several plant species and features sign-posted trails, a children's playground, and recreation areas. Visitors are free to feed fruit to the small monkeys that live in the reserve; fully accustomed to the presence of humans, the monkeys will take pieces of banana from visitors' hands. Rua Guimarães Natal (Cardeal Arcoverde metro station), Copacabana.


The closed-off alley between buildings #21 and #37 on Rua Duvivier is known as Beco da, Garrafas literally "Bottle Alley;' after the bottles that local residents used to throw at rowdy night-clubbers.

As the site of Rio's most popular nightclubs in the 1950s and 60s, this was once one of the most celebrated addresses in the Brazilian music world, playing host to such legendary artists as Dolores Duran, Baden Powell, Elis Regina, Nara Leão, Wilson Simonal, Sérgio Mendes, Luís Eҫa, Vinícius de Moraes, and Tom Jobim.

It was in hotspots such as the Little Club, Baccara, Bottle's, and Ma Griffe that instrumental bossa nova (or samba-jazz as some call it) was born.

In addition to its regular evening shows, the Little Club held Sunday jazz and bossa nova sessions where singers, composers, and instrumentalists, both amateur and professional, would come to play and improvise for free.

These days, the tiny street has lost most of its charm, though some nightclubs still operate there. The charming bookstore Bossa Nova & Cia aims to bring some of that legendary atmosphere back to the once-storied address.


Though there are New Year's Eve festivities held all over Rio - lpanema, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Leblon, the Marina da Glória – without a doubt the most exuberant and vibrant celebrations are in Copacabana.

Every New Year's Eve, around two million people, most of them dressed in white, crowd onto the two-and-a-half mile beach to watch a fantastic fireworks display that lasts a quarter of an hour.

The hotels along Avenida Atlantica host sumptuous parties, followed by elaborate breakfast.

In the days leading up to the end of the year, Copacabana also serves as the site for festivities related to Brazil 's various syncretic religions, notably umbandada and candomblé.

On December 31, the main thoroughfares are closed to private cars after 6pm, and bus service is limited.

Anyone not staying in Copacabana would do well to take a taxi after 6pm, or park in Ipanema and continue on foot to Copacabana.

Despite the huge numbers of people walking about, there are very few disturbances; the beach is heavily policed during the festivities.


The first hotel in Copacabana and a Rio de Janeiro landmark, the heritage site-listed Copacabana Palace Hotel has been the meeting place for the jet set since it opened in 1923.

Past guests have included Santos Dumont, Gene Kelly, Orson Welles, Princess Diana, and Arturo Toscanini.

The hotel has welcomed presidents, kings, and Hollywood stars, and was the setting for the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio, in which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced together on screen for the first time.

Famous for its traditional elegance and sophistication, the Copacabana Palace was built by the entrepreneur Otávio Guinle at the suggestion of the then president of Brazil, Epitácio Pessoa, who visited France and became enchanted by the fashionable architecture of Paris.

The design by French architect Joseph Gire was inspired by the Negresco Hotel in Nice and the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.

The hotel's two buildings house two restaurants: the refined Cipriani, which serves food from the north of italy, under the leadership of Francesco Carli, and the pool-side Pergula, which serves contemporary cuisine, including tea, breakfast, lunch, and one of the best Sunday brunches in Rio. Avenida Atlantica, 1702, Copacabana.


Opened in 1952, this cigar store stands at one of the busiest spots on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, between Rua Santa Clara and Rua Figueiredo Magalhães.

It's the perfect place to stop for a quick coffee. Some locals consider the brew served here to be the most traditional and aromatic in the city.

Visitors can also buy tobacco, cigars and pipes of different sizes and colors, and souvenirs such as lighters and playing cards. Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, 683, Copacabana.


This store is among the best of its kind in the city. It stocks a wide variety of DVDs and CDs, including a basement space selling second-hand music books and vinyl records. Featuring musically inspired decor, the shop also sells audio and video equipment, and often marks weekly new music launches on Tuesdays with free shows.

Alegro Bistro, inside the store, serves quick meals and sandwiches, and also holds very popular happy hours featuring good live music.

Saturday afternoons offer the chance to have lunch in the bistro and listen to veteran instrumentalists performing live. Rua Barata Ribeiro, 502-D, Copacabana.


Built at the end of the 19th -century to connect  Botafogo and Copacabana, this so-called Old Tunnel (officially Túnel Alaor Prata) spurred the rapid growth of residential settlements in the latter district.

Up to the time of the tunnel's construction, Copacabana and Leme had been difficult to get to more of a summer refuge for the elite (including Dom Pedro II) than a place to live.

When the Companhia Ferro Carril do Jardirn Botanico decided to run trams out to Copacabana, they opened this tunnel through Morro de Vila Rica - and so the most iconic neighborhood in Rio came into being on July 6, 1892.

The tram line was soon extended as far as Forte do Leme (Leme Fort), encouraging the construction of new roads and parceling out of building plots. Avenida Atlantica was inaugurated soon after, in 1906.


This road runs from Praҫa Cardeal Arcoverde to the entrance to the Major Rubens Vaz Tunnel in the direction of Arpoador.

It entered the history books as the scene of the attempt on the life of Carlos Lacerda, editor of the Tribuna da lmprensa newspaper at the time and a bitter opponent of then-president Getulio Vargas.

Lacerda was attacked by two gunmen when he arrived home on August 5, 1954. Though he escaped with his life, his bodyguard, .Major Rubens Vaz, died.

Subsequent investigations revealed that the attackers had been contracted by the chief guard of the presidential palace, Gregório Fortunato.

The episode shocked the nation and fairly changed the course of Brazilian political history: an extraordinarily gifted orator, Lacerda intensified his campaign against Vargas after the attempted assassination, leading Vargas to commit suicide soon afterward.


The tiny church stands between Copacabana and Arpoador. It is home to the statue of Nossa Senhora de Copacabana (Our Lady of Copacabana), removed from the old church that gave the neighborhood of Copacabana its name.

The church was designed by Ibsen Vilaҫa and built in 1956. Rua Francisco Otaviano, 99, Copacabana.


This leisure club is at Posto 6 on Copacabana Beach, just 22 yards from the sea and about 3 miles from Ilhas Cagarras, a great spot for underwater fishing and diving.

The club itself features facilities geared primarily toward water sports. Though the club is members-only, it opens to the public during Rio's famous New Year's Eve celebrations.

It's worth a visit for the enviable view, which takes in the fireworks over Copacabana on one side and the charming beach at Ipanema on the other.

Beach volleyball is the club's hallmark sport: the net is directly in front of the club, and after a hard game, you can choose between a dip in the sea or a shower in the shade of coconut palms. Praҫa Coronel Eugenio Franco, 2, Copacabana.


Bounded by Rua Santa CIara, Rua Figueiredo de MagaIhães, and Rua Tonelero, Peixoto is a haven of tranquility within Copacabana, filled with neo-colonial buildings built in the 1940s and 1950s.

In addition to its well preserved architecture, the area boasts another major attraction: the capoeira classes offered by Mestre Feijão and the Centro Cultural Senzala, offered daily from 7:30pm to 9pm in Praҫa Edmundo Bittencourt.

Visitors interested in participating can talk to the organizers on-site in the praҫa. Perhaps as a result of the area's tradtion of martial arts, Peixoto has entered into Rio slang - to say that someone was "born in Peixoto" is to imply that he is tough.


This fort was built in 1914 to defend Guanabara Bay. It sits on the former site of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Copacabana church, which gave the neighborhood its name.

The exhibitions at the Museu Histórico do Exercito (Army History Museum), inside the fort, caver important event, in the history of Rio de Janeiro using video presentations and models.

A long veranda with a panoramic view of Copacabana Beach stretches the length of the main hall, known as the Salão Nobre.

The smaller Salão Republica has exhibits on the Revolta da Armada (a naval revolt), the Canudos campaign, and the nationalist tenente movement.

In July 1922, the fort was the site of an uprising known as " Os 18 do Forte" ("The Fort 18"), when a group of mutinous officers left the fort to face down troops loyal to the government in the middle of Avenida Atlantica.

The on-site Café do Forte, with its dazzling view of Copacabana Beach, has the same owners as Confeitaria Colombo, in Centro. The cafe serves breakfast and afternoon tea at covered outdoor tables. Praҫa Coronel Eugenio Franco, 1, Copacabana.


Rio de Janeiro has the most art deco buildings of any city in Brazil, and many of them are in Copacabana.

The first art deco edifices were built in the 1930s near Posto 2 (between Avenida Atlantica and Rua Barata Ribeiro), and were symbols of the then elegant, modern Copacabana.

Important buildings on Avenida Atlantica include: Edificio Labourdette, designed in 1937 by Robert Prentice, with its convex verandas and a central column set back from the faҫade (# 1880); Edificio Embaixador, designed in 1935 by architects Freire & Sodré, inspired by the great transatlantic ships of the time (# 3170); and Edificio Ypiranga, also from 1935, with its eye-catching curves and aerodynamic elements (# 3940). Architect Oscar Niemeyer had his office in the Ypiranga building.

There are also lovely art de co buildings away from the main avenue, especially near Praça do Lido (Lido Square), around Posto 2 on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana you'll find Comodoro (# 162), Solano (#166), Ouro Preto (#174), Ceará (#209), Itahy (#252), and Roxy (#945).

The oldest of these, Edificio Solano (built in 1930), has a front entrance finished in granite and a lovely iron gate.

Edificio Itahy from 1932, has a wrought-iron front entrance gate with seaweed designs.

The Roxy cinema, opened in 1938, is one of Rio's best examples of art deco, with an eye-catching staircase and a foyer done in an aerodynamic style. The theatre was recently restored and is now divided into three.

Rua Ministro Viveiros de Castro is home to Tuyuti, from 1931 (#100), Orion (#104) and America (#110), both from 1934, and Alagoas (#122), from 1933.

The faҫades of all of these buildings deserve a close look.

Rua Ronald de Carvalho features interesting buildings planned in accordance with the rationalist style that was in vogue at the time. One such example is Edificio Ribeiro Moreira (#21), near the intersection with Avenida Atlantica.

Designed by Alessandro Baldassini and in its time the tallest skyscraper in Rio, the innovative building (then known as Edificio OK) features split floors, verandas that are incorporated into the body of the building, and a canopied front entrance.

The equally imposing Almeida Magalhães (#45) has generous verandas and a marble-trimmed front entrance.

Edificio Ophir (#154) impresses with the geometric lines of its faҫade and its lovely entrance gate. A little fiJrther on is Guahy (#181), with its beveled faҫade.

Further examples of Rio's distinctive art deco style fill the area between Rua Republica do Peru and Rua Fernando Mendes.

On Rua Fernando Mendes, Brasil (#19), Amazonas (#25), and Irapuan (#31), all of which were built between 1936 and 1940, feature spacious, sophisticated, eye-catching entrances.

Edificio Lamberti (1935), in Praҫa Serzedelo Correia (#15) is also worth a look.


Visitors will also find plenty of modernist architecture in Copacabana.

Among the cluster of four residential buildings, the Chopin, Prelúdio, Balada, and Barcarola, all surrounding to the Copacabana Palace, the first stands out the most. Built between 1951 and 1957 from a design by Jacques Pilon, it has enormous windows and spacious apartments.

It has hosted ambassadors and ex-presidents, and is most famous today for the lavish parties held by its residents, particularly those held during New Year's Eve (Avenida Atlantica, #1782).

Edificio Angel Ramirez, designed in 1952 by MMM Roberto Architects and built in 1954, features V-shaped supporting columns and wooden shutters (Rua Repliblica do Peru, 72).

Though its original marquees and entrance have changed since they were initially designed by the Roberto brothers in 1952, Edificio Finúsia is still notable for its geometric faҫade and its overall opulence (Rua Barata Ribeiro, 283).

Nearby is Edificio Jardim Santa Clara, a 1966 Alvaro Vital Brasil design that successfully balances the needs of space and functionality (Rua Santa Clara, 372).

Jardim Amazonas, from 1962, is another example of modern architecture by the same architect (Rua Anita Garibaldi, 25).

Leme and Copacabana travel guide and tourism information such as festivals, maps, activities and attractions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Brazil Travel Guide

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