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Joatinga, a deserted beach near the city

One of the best qualities of Rio de Janeiro is its diversity, noted even on the beaches. In the middle of the city or within a few kilometers, packed with people or completely deserted, the beaches of Rio are as marvellous as the city.

Joatinga is the closest of the natural and idyllic beaches (the others are Prainha and Grumari), and chosen by surfers and celebrities who want a little peace and quiet. It’s reached best by car and you’ll find the shores empty Monday through Friday. It is advisable to arrive early to enjoy the sun before it disappears behind the hills in the early afternoon. No kiosks, no umbrellas or chairs for rent, and to reach the sand you have to climb down several meters between the rocks, but the reward is being surrounded by only mountains and ocean.

To get there, follow the coast along Avenida Niemeyer – which begins at the end of Leblon and has a breathtaking view. After passing the neighborhood São Conrado, turn right and climb along the road, Estrada de Joá. When you reach the security checkpoint of a gated community, tell the guards you’re going to visit the beach. Among the group of houses within the community is the residence of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé.