The paddle ball game the Cariocas play is one of the few non-competitive sports in the world. Stand 15ft (5m.) apart, close to the water and paddle away.
Body surfing is probably the purest water sport in the world. That means you can have fun with nature without any equipment, or even swimming trunks. As a wave breaks, jump with it, do two strokes so your body catches up to the speed of the wave and ride the wake.
Hey! Now we’re talking! Beer drinking at the beach is everybody’s favorite sport. But do drink some water every now and then, as you are probably dehydrating faster than you think, which will make you sleepy by dusk.
Feel like exercising or sweating off yesterday’s hangover? Jog along the beach. No further explanation needed…
Yes, you want to play volleyball, but the Cariocas playing it won’t even notice that you are waiting to be asked in. You can either be persistent and ask someone if you can join, or you can rent or borrow a ball from someone and play on an empty court (unlikely to happen on weekends). If you can hang with the best or if you are tall, they may let you in. If you suck, practise elsewhere.
Soccer – Football
In most cases, since the teams run from 4 to as many as 16 players on each side, you can just ask any one of the team players if you can join their game. This is if you can hang. If you can’t, go back to paddle ball.
You can get a beach massage with any of the masseurs posted every 6 blocks close to the sidewalk. Their prices range from R$60 to R$100 an hour.
Don’t try the pre-cooked beach shrimp
Or any beach seafood. Certain death.
Don’t make eye contact with the vendors
If you do, they will come and pester you for several minutes. When they catch your attention, quickly, give them the “no” sign by shaking you index finger just twice.
Guys: don’t lie down on the sand
That’s for women or guys accompanied by their girlfriends.
Don’t forget to take off your sunglasses
Raccoon eyes are not cool in Rio.
Don’t leave your stuff unguarded
When going into the water, simply ask your beach neighbor to watch your stuff for you. If you brought a digital camera or any amount of money, one of your group should stay behind.
Water safety tips
Whenever a fierce wave is coming your way, you should swim towards it so you can jump through it before it breaks on top of you.
If it does break in front of you, drop to the bottom, stay as close to the sand as possible and wait for it to pass over you.
If you get caught in the undertow (or any water current pulling you out to sea), two simple rules: 1) don’t struggle against it; 2) swim parallel to the beach till you are out of the current.
If there are more than a few surfers in the ocean, try to stay as far away from them as possible. One slip and their board could crack your head open (sorry about the visual).
If you can’t swim you should stay close to the lifeguard posts; in case you need to get pulled out.