Barra is where what Soteropolitanos refer to as the orla, or coastline, begins: a long string—roughly 20 kilometers (12.5 miles)—of beaches that stretch north up to Itapuã and the city limits. Aside from Rio Vermelho, the adjoining neighborhoods themselves are of little interest, and if you’re looking for good beaches, the ones further away, beginning at Boca do Rio, are the only worthy candidates for bathing.
Lots of buses—both municipal and more expensive and air-conditioned executivos—leave from the center (Campo Grande and Lapa) or from Barra and speed up and down the coast all the way to Itapuã.
On the weekends, particularly in the summer, all of these beaches get really packed. It’s best if you can go early and come back at around 3 p.m. to beat the rush and crush.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition