Updated on March 4, 2012
One of Rio's top surf and bodyboard spots, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, or simply Recreio, is the next beach west from Barra da Tijuca. Recreio is attractively cut by a large rock which projects into the ocean.
A planned residential area with some of its urban design by architect Lúcio Costa (1902-1998), of Brasília fame, Recreio lived a real estate boom in the 1990s. However, a three-floor limit for the middle class and upscale constructions sets it apart from other Rio beaches.
Recreio will be undergoing major changes in the time leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games, such as the area's inclusion in the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and the polemic relocation of residents (read about it on Rio On Watch).
Museu Casa do Pontal, one of the best new museums in Brazil, features the Jacques Van de Beuque collection with over 8,000 folk art pieces by about 200 artists.
At the western end of Recreio, the Marapendi Environment Protection Area is a top choice for ecotourism; ask about hiking, diving, cycling and surfing in the area at agencies such as DNA Aventura.
Pros and skilled celebs like Flea and Anthony Kiedis (who hit the waves at Rock in Rio 2011) go surfing at Recreio. Need help? Take lessons at schools such as Recreio Open, Escola Carioca de Surf or Rico Point.
Recreio is popular among triathlon athletes; you can run on the sidewalk or try beach running.
Recreio has one of Rio's cycling lanes (with some maintenance issues such as weeds and irregular pavement).
Restaurants include Tia Palmira Sansei (Rua Coronel João Olintho 960, 55-21-3624-0616, daily lunch and dinner, $$), the Japanese branch of famous Tia Palmira in Barra de Guaratiba.
Natural do Recreio (Av. Ailton Henrique da Costa 459, 55-21-2486-8158, $-$$), serving health food for lunch, has showers and a deck.
Where to Stay in Recreio:
Few hotels, apart-hotels and hostels are your options for stays in Recreio.
- Atlântico Sul Hotel
A penthouse with panoramic views and apartments with beach or mountain views; a pool and saunas; a renovated event area are perks at this reasonably-priced hotel.
Avenida Sernambetiba 18000
- Apart Hotel Praia do Pontal
Apartments with tile floors and kitchens, balconies and beach views are available for rentals on beautiful Praia do Pontal. Estrada do Pontal 7535
- Recreio das Hortênsias
Not near the beach, but in front of a verdant hill in a neighboring district, the guesthouse has dorms and private rooms, large gardens, saunas, a pool and sports courts.
Estrada dos Bandeirantes 12315
- Rio Surf 'n Stay
Learn how to surf and meet other budget travelers while you stay in single, double or shared rooms.
R. Raimundo Veras 1140