Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro)

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Aerial view of Copacabana beach.jpg
Copacabana is located in Rio de Janeiro
Location in Rio de Janeiro
Coordinates: 22°58′1″S 43°10′50″W / 22.96694°S 43.18056°W / -22.96694; -43.18056Coordinates: 22°58′1″S 43°10′50″W / 22.96694°S 43.18056°W / -22.96694; -43.18056
Country  Brazil
State Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
Municipality/City Rio de Janeiro
Zone South Zone
A view of the Copacabana beach from Sugar Loaf
The Portuguese pavement wave pattern at Copacabana beach
Map of Copacabana
Copacabana at dusk
The Copacabana Palace Hotel
Fireworks in Copacabana beach
The waters of Copacabana
Copacabana Beach during World Youth Day 2013.

Copacabana (local and standard Portuguese pronunciation: [kɔpakɐˈbɐ̃nɐ] or [kɔpɐkaˈbɐ̃nɐ], rarely [kɔpakaˈbɐ̃nɐ] and [kopɐkaˈbɐ̃nɐ] in other Brazilian dialects) is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.[1]


The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the Tupi language, it means "the way of the socós (a kind of bird)") until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia. [2]


Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and other, right after it: Diabo ("Devil") Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers used to go after its perfect waves, comes in the sequence, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four "Olympic Zones" during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

According to Riotur, the Tourism Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro, there are 63 hotels and 10 hostels in Copacabana.[3]

Copacabana Beach[edit]

Copacabana beach stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed.[4]

Hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dot the promenade.

Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revellers during the annual New Year's Eve celebrations and, in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

This beach is also the venue where Usain Bolt will attempt to beat the 150m world record.

Panorama of the Copacabana beach.

Copacabana promenade[edit]

The Copacabana promenade is a pavement landscape in large scale (4 kilometres long). It was completed in 1970 and has used a black and white Portuguese pavement design since its origin in the 1930s: a geometric wave. The Copacabana promenade was designed by Roberto Burle Marx

Living standard[edit]

Copacabana has the 11th highest Human Development Index in Rio, the 2000 census put the HDI of Copacabana at 0.902.[5]

The neighbourhood[edit]

According to the IBGE, 160,000 people live in Copacabana and 44,000 or 27.5% of them are 60 years old or older.[6][7] Copacabana covers an area of 7.84 km²[citation needed] which gives the borough a population density of 20,400 people per km².

Residential buildings eleven to thirteen stories high built right next to each other dominate the borough. Houses and two-story buildings are rare.


More than 40 different bus routes serve Copacabana,[8] as do three subway Metro stations: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arcoverde.

Three major arteries parallel to each other cut across the entire borough: Avenida Atlântica (Atlantic Avenue), which is a 6-lane, 4 km avenue by the beachside, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue and Barata Ribeiro/Raul Pompéia Street both of which are 4 lanes and 3.5 km in length. Barata Ribeiro Street changes its name to Raul Pompéia Street after the Sá Freire Alvim Tunnel. Twenty-four streets intersect all three major arteries, and seven other streets intersect some of the three, but not all.

Notable events[edit]

  • On 26 April 1949, RMS Magdalena broke in two as she was being towed into Rio de Janeiro harbour. Much of her cargo of oranges was washed up upon the beach.
  • On December 31, 1994, the New Year's Eve celebrations featured a Rod Stewart concert with an attendance of 3.5 million, making it the largest concert crowd ever.[9] More recently, the beach has been a site for huge free concerts unrelated to the year-end festivities. On March 21, 2005, Lenny Kravitz performed there in front of 300,000 people, on a Monday night. On February 18, 2006, a Saturday, The Rolling Stones surpassed that mark by far, attracting over 1.5 million people to the beach.

New Year's Eve in Copacabana[edit]

The fireworks display from Rio de Janeiro to celebrate New Year's Eve is one of the largest in the world, reaching 15 to 20 minutes. Estimated that 2 million people go to the sands of Copacabana Beach, to see the spectacle. It is a feast of popular confraternization that extends show with music traversing the night. The celebration has become one of the biggest tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro, attracting visitors from all over Brazil as well as from different parts of the world, when the city hotels generally stay fully booked.


New Year's Eve celebrations are made on Copacabana beach since the 1950s, when goers cults of African origin as Candomblé and Umbanda, gathered in small groups, dressed in white, and made their celebration rituals. In 1976 there was the first firing of fireworks, sponsored by a hotel to the waterfront, which is repeated over and over again. In the 1990s, the city saw a great opportunity here to move around the city - organizing and expanding the event.

The assessment made During the New Year's Eve 1992 with increase increasing public on Copacabana beach , pointed to the mayor elected Risks crowd of people in the output after the fireworks display . So , was scheduled for New Year -1993/94 - Concerts on Copacabana beach to retain the public. This year, Tim Maia and Jorge Ben Jor attractions.

The success was twofold: the output of spaced gave way for 2 hours without the turmoil of before. The criticisms were many, that it would lose the New Year's tradition, because should be a religious festival and fireworks by the sea and nothing more. The names of the critics were among the more intellectual medium.

The following year, Rod Stewart beat attendance records. Finally, the Tribute to Tom Jobim - with Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Paulinho da Viola... - consolidated the shows at the Copacabana Réveillon. There was a need to transform the fireworks display in a show of the same quality. The fireworks display was created by entrepreneurs Ricardo Amaral and Mariu's.

Of 8–10 minutes before, the time was doubled to 20 minutes and the quality and diversity of the fireworks too. A technical problem in fireworks 2000, required the use of ferries from New Year's Eve 2001/02. Finally there was the expected: New Year's Eve began to compete with the Carnival in the occupation of the hotel chain and has become a tourist attraction, which was not until 1992.[11]

Fireworks in Copacabana.


External links[edit]