Fodor's Expert Review Praia de São Conrado
West of Leblon, Praia de São Conrado sits empty during the week but is often packed on weekends and holidays. The strand of soft sand attracts both wealthy locals and residents of the nearby Rocinha favela, and it provides a soft landing for hang gliders swooping over the city. Surfers love the crashing waves, but swimmers should be cautious because of the undertow. It's worth remaining until sunset; the pumpkin sun often performs a dazzling show over Pedra da Gávea (Gávea Rock). Amenities: food and drink; water sports; lifeguards. Best for: sunset; surfing.