Brazilian beaches remain lively at night as ‘moon bathing’ gains popularity

World Today

Sweltering temperatures in Rio de Janeiro are making both locals and tourists seek relief in the city’s numerous beaches in the daylight and in the nighttime. A new trend has been called “moon bathing,” a smart way to cool down and protect skin from solar radiation. Lucrecia Franco reported this story from Rio.

It’s summer in Rio and it’s sizzling. Temperatures have skyrocketed above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. This has left Brazilians seeking relief at the beach, both day and night.

“It is one of the hottest summers. Last year is was already hot, but this year weather forecast institutes had already predicted it would be an atypical summer with temperatures above the historical average of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and it is now been confirmed,” Meteorologist Valdo Marques said.

At the rocky east end of Ipanema, one of the Rio’s most famous beaches, crowds gather to cheer and applaud the sunset, but many don’t go home.

At almost 9 p.m. the beach is as crowded as it was during the day. Many beach lovers even prefer coming at nighttime to avoid the scorching sun and enjoy what has been called “moon bathing.”

“I came to have a moon bath, because it is more pleasant, healthier, very nice,” Isabela Carvalho said. “It is calmer, keeps one away from the sun, you can enjoy the sea, it is fresher, so this moon bathing is truly delicious.”

Moon bathing means there’s no need for umbrellas or sun block, which may be a relief especially for fair-skinned tourists.

“It is always nice to come here to watch the sunset, do some swimming if you feel up to it,” Paul Borrow said. “So you kind of get your exercising and get a feel of the beach here in Rio, but not end looking like a tomato the next day.”

Brazil National Cancer Institute Dermatologist Fernanda Tolstoy says moon bathing could help reduce the number of skin cancers in Brazil.

“Skin cancer is the first. It is the first in the statistics among all types of cancer,” Tolstoy said. “In Brazil and countries where there is intense solar exposure like Australia, as well, it is the top, leading cancer.”

While the heat wave is expected to last until the end of January, “night beach fever” has transformed Rio into another city that doesn’t sleep.