A sheltered strip of white-sand beach near Pedra Branca, Prainha Beach is surrounded by mountains and only reachable by a single access road. Although the 2,300-foot (701-meter) stretch of sand lies just outside Rio de Janeiro, it feels far away from the bustle of downtown.
Prainha Beach is a prime surfing spot and is considered one of Rio's hidden gems, with a secluded bay, forested hills, and restaurants serving fresh seafood. Located in the Barra da Tijuca district, the beach is part of a protected rain forest area and is a lot less crowded than the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Along the shores, locals (Cariocas) surf and play Frescobol, a combination of beach volleyball and table tennis.
Day tours from downtown typically combine stops at Prainha Beach with nearby Grumari (a protected wildlife area), plus the Recreio and Abrico beaches. Private beach tours and photography tours can visit Prainha Beach along with the Casa do Pontal Museum, which houses a collection of Brazilian folk art.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Prainha Beach is a must-see for nature lovers, surfers, and travelers wishing to escape the bustle of downtown Rio.
- On the beach, kiosks serve sandwiches, juices, and acai bowls.
- The neighboring Abrico Beach is Rio de Janeiro's only nudist beach.
How to Get There
Prainha Beach is located about 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Rio's Ipanema neighborhood. While guided tours are an easy option, parking is available and you can arrive by car via Avenida Estado da Guanabara. A surf bus also travels between the beach and city center every three hours.
When to Get There
It's best to arrive earlier in the day to enjoy the sun, as the hill behind the beach starts casting a shadow in the afternoon. Weekdays find Prainha almost deserted, but weekends can get crowded.
Staying Near Prainha Beach
There are no hotels at Prainha Beach, but it is an easy day trip from central Rio. The closest hotels are located at the nearby Grumari Beach, which is typically more crowded.