Score: 66

Locals and tourists alike have fun in the sun on Rio de Janeiro's beaches, most of which are remarkably "clean" and "well-maintained" for an urban waterfront. "A day at the beach in Rio offers one of the world's great cultural experiences." While enjoying this "huge party on the sand," however, visitors should keep a close eye on their belongings. Petty crime is a problem.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"These beaches remain some of the best in the world. They do not seem overrun with tourists and are clean and welcoming. Facilities are well maintained and accessible, though there is little signage in English. These beaches remain such an integral part of Carioca culture and are well cared for in most places. Crime at night remains a problem."

"Despite water quality issues and (mostly petty) crime, a day at the beach in Rio is one of the world's great cultural experiences. Rio's beach culture is utterly unlike what most Americans seek; it's more like a huge party on the sand."

"Despite natural appeal, Rio beaches are overcrowded, especially Copacabana. Leblon and Ipanema less so. Environmental quality is questionable, since waste management is still an issue. The beaches from Barra de Tijuca until Recreio dos Bandeirantes are in better shape."

"Rio de Janeiro beaches are still a part of a marvelous natural urban landscape and beach culture is healthy. More attention needs to be given to heritage architecture. Sustainability is getting more attention."

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