The eye-catching principal beach in Zona Oeste, Barra beach (as it is more simply known) is also the city’s biggest, reaching all the way to Recreio in an impressively straight line as far as the eye can see. Kitesurfing occupies much of the eastern end with its near-perfect, steady winds, and several schools and shops dedicated to the sport have cropped up, making for an impressive show of brightly-hued canvasses criss-crossing the sky when conditions are good.
Pepê’s kiosk, named in honour of the local legend and surfer who met his fate in a hang-gliding accident, is the centre of the action by day and night, offering decent snacks and drinks and occasional DJs. Still somewhat sneered at by zona sul’s patrons, the sand is cleaner and water fresher than Ipanema, but can produce tricky currents for swimmers. Further up the beach toward Recreio is popular with fishermen, using the deserted sands and water to fling in their lines with abandon