Only in Rio can you happen onto a tropical paradise without leaving city limits. About 22 miles west of Copacabana lies Prainha. The name calls up a small beach that’s in fact a sand formation in an ecological reserve surrounded by the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica), with its complete variety of plant and animal life. Known as one of the city’s surfing meccas, it’s a gem for anyone keen on sun and waves. Eat fresh seafood right on the beach, and if you brought your board, take the surf-bus that connects to the city’s most popular tourist areas.