RIO DE JANEIRO, ARPOADOR; BRAZIL -- Nestled between the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana lies, Arpoador, a tiny neighborhood best known for surfing and romance.
Arpoador's greatest asset is its natural beauty in the form of a rock peninsula jutting into the ocean. Portuguese settlers and Brazilian natives used the rock to hunt whales, hence the name Arpoador, meaning "harpoon thrower."
Because of its location in the center of Rio's famous coastline, Arpoador boasts spectacular views: the lights of Ipanema, Leblon, and Vidigal twinkling beneath the peaks of Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) on one side, and Copacabana on the other. The rock is crisscrossed with small trails and secluded nooks, making it one of the most romantic spots in Rio.
During midsummer, crowds flock to Arpoador to watch the sun set over the ocean, a rare treat on the mostly east-facing coastline. The rocky point is also a popular night spot any time of year; revelers can always be found there, passing around bottles of wine and enjoying the view.
Arpoador Beach (only about 500 meters long) is considered by many to be the best surf spot in metropolitan Rio, with breakers up to three meters tall and floodlights for night surfing.