What first comes to mind when you think of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro – sun, surf, and scantily clad Brazilians lounging as they sip cachaça-laced caipirinhas? That’s certainly what I envisioned before discovering Forte de Copacabana at the south end of the beach. A fort on Copacabana Beach?!
Since we had plenty of time before our night flight back home to L.A., we decided to check it out. Truth be told, the draw wasn’t the fort itself, but the rave reviews I’d read about a luxe restaurant called Confeitaria Colombo. When I found out that Café do Forte, an offshoot of the restaurant, is located at the fort, I figured that we should kill two birds with one stone.
As it turned out, we should’ve skipped brunch at Café do Forte. We went in feeling famished after walking a long stretch of Avenida Atlântica – the street where you’ll find the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel.
After ordering omelets, we were shocked to witness our server sneezing several times into his hand as he continued to serve food. And no one, and I mean no one else but us seemed at all disturbed by it! Back home in the U.S., I would’ve complained to a manager, but when in Rio, we did our best to turn a blind eye and to pray an extra special blessing over our food. To add insult to injury, our omelets weren’t even good. Yet the place was crowded with locals – perhaps because of its cute outdoor eating area that offers great views of the beach and Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf).
After brunch, we meandered over to the fort to take a look around. On the grounds you’ll find an above-ground bunker museum of sorts that gave us a feel for how the soldiers who worked there ran the fort – Rio’s first line of defense against attack.
Once you make your way back outside you’ll find two cupolas with Krupp cannons which look quite intimidating. Yes?
Overall, it was interesting to see another side of Copacabana apart from toned bodies and locals playing volleyball, but I’d only recommend visiting Forte de Copacabana if you have time to spare.