Rio de Janeiro Districts
Thankfully, Rio de Janeiro has several districts to be explored. Most of the fame and glory go to neighborhoods like Ipanema and Copacabana, but the wonder city has many other magic scenarios and districts waiting to be revealed. Belavista-Rio proudly presents one of the first Rio de Janeiro on-line district guides made by Cariocas with great passion and care, especially for foreigners. This on-line Rio district guide was developed to help you discover the most interesting restaurants, cultural centers, museums, boutiques, parks, beaches, and other locations and activities sometimes forgotten by standard official guides. Our idea is to present a local review of some of these settings and try to approximate for international tourists the real life led by locals. Below, you will find a summary of districts like Flamengo, Botafogo, Lagoa, Barra da Tijuca, Leblon, Copacabana and Ipanema. On this Belavista-Rio´s online district guide, you will find significant highlights in each district with many pictures and easy to read descriptions
Flamengo is a vibrant middle class neighborhood located between Botafogo district and Rio de Janeiro center and has become increasingly sought out by tourists. Until the 1950s, Flamengo and Catete were the principal residential zones of Rio's wealthier class and that may be the reason why many embassies (today consulates) were established here. Flamengo district in Rio is known Brazil wide and abroad for containing Flamengo Park, the largest urban park in Brazil with 296 acres or 1.20 km². Flamengo also hosts several cultural centers and museums, such as the Modern Museum of Art, Catete Palace and the Carmen Miranda Museum. Finally, Flamengo is famed for its many art deco buildings and relaxed night-life, with bars like the Belmont. The Belavista-Rio district guide on Flamengo pays a special attention to its cultural centers and cozy restaurants.
Ipanema may be for Rio de Janeiro what Tribeca or Soho represents for Manhattan, observing geographic and cultural differences. The neighborhood famed by the lovely song “The Girl from Ipanema”, is a synonym for new trends, fashion, and eclecticism. To a certain extent, Ipanema may be microcosm of the colorful Rio character the colorful Rio character itself. Although Ipanema is a relatively small district, being the strip of land between the Ipanema Beachand the Rodrigo De Freitas Lagoon, the neighborhood and world famous beach also show diverse identities. Ipanema is home to several tribes that live in a harmony: the tourists, the surf crowd the rich and famous, the new hippies, the jocks, the gay friendly and the typical local resident. Belavista-Rio site section on the Ipanema district reviews the best Ipanema restaurants.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, simply known as “Lagoa”, which means lake or lagoon is an upper middle class neighborhood in Rio´s South Zone. The Lagoa district is also one of Rio´s main local hangout spots with several day and night options, such as the Lagoa Kiosks. Lagoa is kindly described as “Rio ´s heart” since it is surrounded by the 7 other traditional districts in Rio, such as Ipanema, Gávea, Leblon, Copacabana, Jardim Botânico, Botafogo and Humaitá. The Lagoa district also hosts the lively Tom Jobim Park, which is group of parks around the lake with several leisure options such as playgrounds for kids, sculpture gardens, roller skate rink, workout stations and sport courts. The Lagoa district on-line guide was centered on its nightlife, including a review of the Lagoa Kiosks and neighboring restaurants.
Botafogo is the name of a traditional neighborhood-district (bairro) in Rio de Janeiro. For the most part, Botafogo is a middle-class and small commerce community, located between the hills of Mundo Novo, Santa Marta (separating it from Laranjeiras and Morro de São João. It is named after João Pereira de Sousa Botafogo, who was its landowner in colonial times. Its name literally means set it on fire and is related to the Italian surname Buttafuoco. Botafogo does have a couple of worthwhile sights of its own, including Casa Rui Barbosa, “Museu do Indio” – Native Brazilian Museum , and Brazilian classical composer Villa-Lobos Museum, and the vibrant food fair and nighttime music-jam in the Cobal Public Market. A nice thing about Botafogo is you can see Christ the Redeemer Statue from almost any part of the neighborhood. It is also home to two of the city's largest shopping centers, Botafogo Praia Shopping and RioSul Unlike some years ago, Botafogo is becoming increasingly up-beat, due to new “botecos” and trendy restaurants. The district gained fame too due to the popular Sugar-loaf postcard view.
Leblon is one of the most charming and up-scale districts or neighborhoods of Rio. The Leblon neighborhood stretches 0.8 miles along the beachfront of Rio, being a continuation of Ipanema all the way to the Two Brothers Mountain. Being a very exclusive district, this Rio district today has the highest land prices of Brazil and its residents have an annual average income of US$40,800 which is considered high for Brazilian standards. Leblon beach and Leblon restaurants are famed to be one of the favorite spots of the Brazilian TV and movie scene, housing several actors and actresses. It is very common to see them in trendy restaurants like Sushi Leblon one of the best Japanese restaurants in town, Antiquarius typical Portuguese food, or the fashion gourmet Aquim. The Leblon beach is considered to be a quieter low key hangout, with a surf spot at Leblon´s end, close the rocks, while Posto 11, (life guard post number 11) is more tranquil and cozy. Finally, Leblon today also hosts sophisticated cafés, bookstores and refined boutiques, most of them reviewed by international guides.
Copacabana is probably the most cosmopolitan district in Rio, due to its worldwide famed 2.5-mi (4-km) curved beach along the entrance to Guanabara Bay. Being a southeastern district of Rio, Copacabana occupies a narrow strip of land between the mountains and the sea, and has become part of the international imagination being a symbol of sun, fun, the tropics, caipirinhas, and carnival. The district has a population of about 170.000 and is also a true symbol of Brazilian popular eclecticism while Ipanema remains with an up-scale connotation. Because of this impressive global reach and popularity, Copacabana has been associated over the last decades with beauty, glamour, partying and romance as portrayed in several novels, movies, paintings ), sculptures, songs, jewels and other artistic expressions. Apart from the beach, Copacabana hosts movie theaters, night-clubs (like the Mariuzinn) museums and typical Carioca bars, called “botecos”. This Copacabana district on-line review sheds a light on some of Copacabana´s eclectic mysteries.
Barra da Tijuca
The last Rio district summarized on this Rio District opening page is Barra da Tijuca. The neighborhood simply called as “Barra” by locals, is located at Rio de Janeiro West Zone and its name can be roughly translated as “Swamp Sandbank”. Barra da Tijuca used to be an enormous sandbank in the seventies, with some scattered beach weekend and vacation houses. In the 80´s and nineties, Barra grew dramatically in terms of its population, shopping center facilities, flashy restaurants and fine hotels. Barra is today famed for its “Miami style” way of life , with large avenues, new money residents, expensive cars and exclusive penthouses. On the other hand, Barra da Tijuca offers some of the cleanest waters in Rio, with 11 miles of oceanic beaches, presenting ideal conditions for surfing, kite–surfing, and body boarding. Barra also hosts the largest convention center in South America called “Rio Centro”. On this section, Belavista-Rio reviewed some of the sport activities practiced at Barra.