By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Away from the crowded Zona Sul (South Zone) beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, further down the coast and 20km past the residential neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, is Praia de Grumari (Grumari Beach), a rustic beach located in an environmentally protected area surrounded by cliffs and a national park.
Almost isolated, the winding narrow road that leads to Grumari from Recreio dos Bandeirantes first brings you to Prainha, or little beach, where strong waves attract some of the best surfers in the region.
“My father brought me surfing here since I was a child and every beach that I’ve surfed in Rio doesn’t compare,” says local surfer João Lullo.
Up another winding road past Prainha, is Praia de Grumari and a short hike from there will bring one to Praia do Abricó, an exclusive beach surrounded by nature and rocks and one of the few beaches in Rio where nudity is permitted.
Grumari Road connects to Barra da Guaratiba, a small village by the Sepetiba Bay, ideal for lodging if considering more than just a day visit to Grumari Beach.
The golden sand is clean and spacious for families to enjoy a calmer beach day or picnic at Praia de Grumari. Few kiosks line the beach to sell refreshments and the endless shouting beach vendors in Copacabana and Ipanema aren’t allowed to peddle their wares here.
For great seafood and shellfish, there’s the Mirante da Prainha restaurant and bar which also offers a stunning view of the Prainha beach coastline. A true culinary gem specializing in grilled fish is the Point de Grumari restaurant located at the top of Grumari Road which connects Barra de Guaratiba to Grumari Beach.
The best part about this restaurant is that it offers a panoramic view of the national park and Marambaia Sandbank. Given that the restaurant is situated in a protected environment, owner Claudio Rondon is aware of his environmental responsibilities.
“We have found that recycling our used cooking oil is a way of reducing the impact of our activities on the environment,” explains Rondon.
For those searching for an ideal location to host a party outside of the city hustle and bustle, Grumari Beach Gardens is a great venue to host a special event or wedding ceremony on the beach for up to 350 people. Owner Simone Barra told The Rio Times that she recommends celebrating a special moment here because the surrounding nature is what makes it extraordinary. “The energy of the environment is the soul of the party,” says Barra.
Both Prainha and Praia de Grumari are accessible by either car, bike or foot. Public transportation via bus is available from the city center to the farthest point in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, or from the opposite side of Grumari in Barra da Guaratiba. As an added option there is the Surf Bus, which departs every day from Largo do Machado to Prainha at various times. It’s best reserve a spot on the bus as it only allows thirty passengers safely and comfortably.