Take a stroll down a beach in Rio
Gringos can be spotted a mile a way on the beaches of Brazil.
It’s not our fault. We have a different beach culture in the states.
Wearing sneakers is normal while you stroll down the boardwalk. Some guys walk around with swimming trunks hanging down to their ankles and a few women, even in their 20s and 30s, wear swimsuits covering their best assets.
But in Brazil?
That’s not going to cut it. While in Brazil, do as Brazilians do. You want to keep your natural swagger, but you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and attract unwanted attention either.
There’s a science to fitting into the Brazilian scene while keeping your personal flair. And that goes for being a beach bum too.
Read on for what not to do at the beach in Rio.
Leave Your Jordans In The Closet
You see that picture to the left? Yeah, you are going to be sticking out just like that if you are wearing $200 shoes at Posto 9.
Trust me, I’m no Carioca myself and you can catch me on the strip in a pair of Nike’s occasionally. But if I am making this cardinal sin, it’s probably because I’m not actually going to the beach that day and just passing through.
A good reason not to wear sneakers around the beach is being approached by the shoe shining squads. They will try to sell you their services despite your shoes looking brand new with no trace of a smudge.
Leave the nice sneakers in the closet when you are headed to the beach.
Instead, buy a couple of pairs of Havaianas: the world-famous Brazilian flip-flop. I’m actually wearing a black pair now while I’m typing this.
Don’t Bring Your Own Beach Chair
I doubt you will even have these items with you when you traveling to a place +10 hours away by plane, but I feel it should be noted.
In the tourist areas where you will likely spend the majority of your time, there will be vendors who have everything you need for a day at the beach in Rio.
From cadeiras (beach chairs) and guarda sol (umbrella) to snacks like Globo biscoitos and beers like Skol, you can buy anything you need on the beach.
Most of the vendors are from favelas and are looking to make an honest living. Hold off on buying certain items in stores and buy from them instead.
But you can haggle and not get ripped off, specifically when it comes to clothing and souvenir items.
Most of the clothing and jewelry are fake, but if you find yourself needing a pair of cheap shades to block the sun for the day, I recommend checking out what the beach vendors are selling.
Don’t Be Thirsty Dude
Did you buy those cheap shades from the beach vendor?
I hope so, because you will need them.
Brazilian women are pretty while they are at normal places like a convenience store or a restaurant.
So, when they are stripped down to the bare essentials needed to enjoy the Brazilian sun, you know you’ll need to have self-discipline and not be THAT guy at the beach.
I’ve never had the problem of staring at women, but I know some guys do. My advice: Don’t be thirsty dude.
Bikinis on Ipanema or Leblon will probably be skimpier than you are accustomed to. So you’ll see a lot of glistening skin and curves.
Act like you been there before and don’t be a creep. Put on your shades, do some babe-watching discreetly and if you like something you see, before you go and talk to her, remember to…..
Never Leave Your Belongings Unattended
This is common sense, but tourists still leave their belongings in open view while they walk somewhere. A couple minutes later, they return and are surprised their wallet or purse is missing.
You might not be in Rio long enough to find a galera da praia (beach crew), so you have to be cautious of everyone you meet.
You don’t know who is at the beach while you are there. You can’t risk leaving your valuables unattended.
Better yet, you shouldn’t even bring anything valuable with you if you can help it. It’s difficult to not have your phone with you. But if you are staying in Zona Sul, you can probably leave your credit cards in your room.
Just bring a small amount of cash with you for little items you will buy from the vendors.
Don’t Sit All Day, Be Active!
If your idea of fun is laying on the beach and soaking up the sun, only moving to turn from your stomach to your back, then ignore this last piece of advice.
You clearly are not a Carioca!
But if you are a guy who stays active, then you’ll love the beach in Rio where you will find a variety of sports and physical activities.
Besides the normal volleyball and jogging you will notice, there are a few more other activities you might not be familiar with.
- Bodibodin: Similar to surfing, but instead of standing on a board, the person is lying down.
- Pelada: Slang for pick-up. A type of soccer game. Basically, at least 2 people kick a ball through a crowd of people on the beach. Sounds safe eh?
- Frescobol: This is similar to ping-pong except there is no table. By the shoreline, 2 players hit a small, rubber ball back and forth through the air.