Ipanema is a neighborhood located on the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador. The beach at Ipanema became widely known by the song "The Girl from Ipanema", written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and performed by Jobim, João and Astrud Gilberto, and Stan Getz. The song reached the U.S. top 5 in the summer of 1964.
Most of the land that Ipanema consists of today once belonged to José Antonio Moreira Filho, Baron of Ipanema. The word "Ipanema" comes from the old Tupi language, meaning "bad water"; in the sense of bad for fishing, since the waves die too close to the sand, pushing fish away.
Ipanema gained fame with the start of the bossa nova sound, when its residents Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes created their ode to their neighborhood, "Girl from Ipanema."
Ipanema is adjacent to Copacabana beach, but it is distinctive from its neighbor. It is also distinctively more expensive. It is relatively easy to navigate because streets are lined in a grid. Private infrastructure has created world-class restaurants, cafes and shopping. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. At the forefront of beach culture are the many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. There is also shopping available for those who wish.
Ipanema has played its own role in Rio's culture since its beginning. It has universities, art galleries, theaters and cafes.
Ipanema holds its own street parade during Carnival festivities, separate from Rio de Janeiro's. Banda de Ipanema attracts up to 15,000 people to the streets of Ipanema for Carnival.
It is famously known for its elegance and social qualities. Two mountains called the "Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as "postos" (lifeguard towers). Beers are sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça. Pronounced "kashasa", it is a sugar cane rum made in Brasil. Also known as a national drink in Brasil there is "The Caipirinha", a mix of Cachaça (or vodka) with crushed lime, sugar and ice. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a combination sport of volleyball and football originated in Brazil.
In the winter the surf can reach 10–15 feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
One interesting thing about Ipanema's beach is that there is an area called "the gay beach," situated near Rua Farme de Amoedo; which is well-known for being a gay-friendly area, with the rainbow flag floating in the air.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto Nove (aptly named after the 9th lifeguard tower) where young and often beautiful carioca men and women hipsters congregate.
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
Ipanema is generally regarded as one of the safest districts in Zona Sul. It is a mostly middle to upper middle class neighborhood being the second most affluent neighborghood in Rio after Leblon, which has communities of large residential homes. As such, it is usually patrolled by more police than other areas of the city.
View of Ipanema
* [http://ipanema.com/citytour/ipanema.htm City Tour of Ipanema]
* [http://www.roadjunky.com/brazil/beachlife_brazil.shtml Guide to Beach life in Brazil Brazilian culture on the sands]
* [http://www.riodejaneirophotoguide.com/html/ipanema.html Photo Gallery with information about Ipanema Beach]