Going to the beach in Barra da Tijuca is to experience an entirely different Rio. Huge shopping malls (the biggest mall in South America is in Barra da Tijuca), newly constructed high rise apartment buildings, and many chain restaurants can be found here. The area is often said to be the most “americanized.” It’s perfect for those looking to make a slight departure from the Carioca grind, but maybe not for those looking to get away from the shininess of new urban landscapes. The beach itself- clean, vast, and less touristy- is a great reason to visit Barra. It’s known for good kitesurfing and surfing. It’s nice to go during the week when the beaches are nearly empty however, plan the trip before rush hour because the traffic jams of Barra are enough to ruin the relaxation gained from the beach. The area is designed for those with their own cars, and is difficult to access by walking.