Brazilian Beach Culture: Bikinis & Beyond

A Saturday Crowd at IpanemaBrazil is a huge country with miles upon miles of coastline and with that comes a unique beach culture. From the ubiquitous Havaiana flip flops to the barely there dental floss bikini bottoms to the cold beer and coconuts sold at even the most remote Brazilian beach, Brazil beaches are special! I was lucky enough during my too short trip to Brazil to check out beaches in Florianopolis on Ilha de Santa Catarina (more here), super remote beaches on Ilha Grande (more here), and the super popular urban beaches of Rio de Janeiro (more here). Words won’t do the beach culture justice, so check out the photos.

WHAT TO WEAR TO THE BEACH: HAVAIANAS and BIKINIS

Beach culture in Brazil is characterized by the famous Havaianas flip flops. Young, old, men, and women all sport these practical Brazilian footwear. Made of plastic and coming in a variety of colors, Havaianas are the footwear of choice around town, at the beach, and while hiking.

Havaianas for sale on Ilha Grande at the grocery
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Havaianas shop in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Havaianas for Sale, Ipanema

Another super popular Brazilian beach item is the barely-there bikini bottom. Nicknamed dental floss, Brazilian bikini bottoms are not meant to cover up your ass but instead show it off. Anyone and everyone sports these teeny bottoms and they are for sale in every beach town. Incredibly, Brazilian women are actually quite modest and NEVER go topless at the beach.
More Conservative Brazillian Bikini Bottoms, Ipanema

The Famous Brazillian Bikini Bottoms, Ipanema

Flourescent Bikinis at the Beach, Ipanema

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EATING and DRINKING

Beachside Cafes, Ipanema

Kiosks by the beach in Ipanema

You are highly discouraged from bringing anything to the urban beaches of Rio mainly because theft is super common. Also, why bring food and drink when it can purchased all along the beach? Fresh coconut water, chilled beer, sandwiches, mate (a native tea), and even skewered shrimps are all for sale just steps from your lounge chair. The trend of food and drink for sale at the beach wasn’t just in urban areas. Even on the remote beaches, like Lopes Mendes on Ilha Grande, drinks and food were for sale. You paid more than standard price since the items had to be hiked in by the locals, but a cold beer at a beautiful beach is totally worth it.

Fresh coconut water at Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Staying Hydrated with fresh Coconut Water at Ipanema Beach

Mate for sale at Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Hot Mate for Sale, Ipanema

Shrimp for sale at Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
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Drinking beer at the beach (Praia dos Naufragados)
Beer by the Beach

Beer and snacks for sale at Lopes Mendes Beach (For sale at the red umbrella in the corner)
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Beer for sale at a more isolated beach on Ilha Grande (Praia da Feiticeira)
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SPORTS

All sorts of sports were played on the beaches in Brazil. There was sand soccer, sand volleyball, surfing, and I even saw a version of sand tennis.

Surf Competition, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Surf Competition at Ipanema

Beach Tennis/Paddle Ball, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Tropical Paradise, Ipanema

Sand Tennis, Ipanema

Soccer at Copacabana, Rio de Janerio
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Surfing on Santa Catarina under stormy skies
Surf Rat

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