One of the main reasons people travel to Rio De Janeiro is to see the world famous Copacabana beach. This golden stretch of sand is lined by a walking street and beach restaurants and there are tons of activities to do. Like laying out on a sun lounger and partaking in the Copacabana beach food being brought up and down the sand. That’s right, in Copacabana there are food and drink sellers who come directly to you.
I know some people may find this a bit intrusive, and even get annoyed at people offering food every 10 minutes. But, if you like food, then this is a great experience. Plus the sellers do not get offended if you tell them “no, thank you” and they will not harass you to buy something.
Cody and I stayed in Rio De Janeiro for 2 weeks in late 2018, and now that I finally have this site up I can add content from Brazil! While we did not do as much as I would have liked in 2 weeks, we still did quite a bunch so look forward to my other articles in my Rio De Janeiro Series.
Before we get to the food, I just want everyone to know that Copacabana beach is a public beach. That means you do not have to pay to enjoy it. You can just lay your towel down anywhere and relax under the hot sun.
That being said, you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas for about $8 for the set. That is two chairs and an umbrella. I also recommend getting the drinks from the people you rent the loungers from, especially if you plan on coming to the same spot more than once. It is not mandatory, but it is good form for the service they give you. If you want to tip it is also greatly appreciated. We were actually able to get sun loungers from our hotel but the vendors let us just rent and umbrella for about $3 per day.
Other than food, there are tons of vendors selling all manner of good. Things like sunglasses and sarongs to selfie sticks. These vendors were a bit more annoying to be honest, but I understand that this is how they make their living…and after all, the beach is for everyone.
You can easily ignore them, but it is a bit harder to ignore their constant yelling of their wares. No matter, that’s just part of the culture here in Rio De Janeiro.
And finally my list of favorite things to get from the food hawkers in Copacabana. I’m sure there are a ton of foods I missed (either because I didn’t take a picture, or didn’t know what the sellers were yelling in Portuguese).
These shrimp skewers are grilled right there on the beach in front of you from a portable BBQ and are a nice treat on a day at the beach. They are seasoned simply with a bit of lemon juice and some salt, but they sure are delicious. We paid 20 reals (Brazilian Currency) per stick which at the time was a bit over $4. They sure do go great with a nice cold Brahma beer!
These cute meat pastries are a common sight all over South America. Even though they are said to have been first created in Argentina there are of course worldwide variations such as the Cornish Pasty.
These were filled with sautéed beef and onion and were so good. I was actually surprised at how hot they were, but I supposed the thermal chests the vendors carry around do a good job at keeping the heat in. For these we paid just 5 reals each, and they have plenty of variations including vegetarian options.
Ok, who doesn’t love fried cheese. This is another creation cooked and served right here on the beach in front of you. The cheese is called Queijo Coalho and is a firm salty cheese similar to Halloumi. This was so good! They had plenty of choices for seasonings, but as Cody likes to “when in Rome” it when we travel, he just told the guy to do his favorite way.
What we ended up getting served was the fried cheese with some spices and TWO different sauces. A garlic sauce like what you’d get at a Mediterranean grill, and a hot sauce that was similar to Tabasco. I think this might be the one Copacabana beach food that we got the most. They were just 3 reals each stick.
This is not a food so much as a drink, but it is the national drink of Brazil so I’m putting it on this list anyways. It is a potent mixture of Cachaca (a sugarcane based alcohol) with just lime juice and ice. So, pretty much straight up alcohol. A few of these and you are good for the whole afternoon, plus it is a nice break from the beer every now and again.
We bought the drinks from the sun lounger vendors as they gave us great service, but if you are just chilling on your towel somewhere the beach combing vendors do sell mixed drinks as well. They basically walk around with a mini bar. We paid 10 reals each drink which is a bit over 2 dollars. It was a pretty good deal for how strong they are in my opinion.