Ipanema Beach is famously known for its elegance and social qualities. Two mountains called the "Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as "postos" (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a locally invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and football.
In the winter the surf can reach 9 feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto 10 (10th lifeguard tower) where young and often beautiful carioca men and women hipsters congregate.