By Julia Averbuck, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Part of what makes Rio de Janeiro such a beautiful city is its exquisite location between the mountains and the ocean, but while the beach fronts have been widely explored, the same is not true for the views from the hills. Alto Leblon is an exception to the rule, a neighborhood lodged on the side of the mountain Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers’ Hill), Alto Leblon combines nature, views and the perks of Leblon.
Considered a section within the larger neighborhood of Leblon, Alto Leblon is made up of eight streets. Because it is not in the passage to any other areas, there is very little traffic in the neighborhood and its inhabitants can probably boast the quietest streets in Leblon, second only to the private streets of the exclusive house condominium Jardim Pernambuco.
Although Alto Leblon is almost entirely dependent on Leblon for restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies and the like, the neighborhood boasts one gym, one hair salon, two schools and two clubs. Clube Federal, located at one of the highest points of Alto Leblon, has a beautiful view of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Clube Campestre da Guanabara, located on the smaller Rua Alberto Rangel, is slightly smaller and houses the neighborhood’s only café, Café do Alto.
Alto Leblon is also home to one of Rios fifteen municipal parks, Parque do Penhasco Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers’ Park). Located at the top of Rua Aperana, the park boasts views of Leblon and Ipanema beaches as well as of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Open from 7AM to 7PM, the park has 800 meters worth of treks and guided tours can be scheduled by calling (21) 2293-3596.
Former resident, Julia Carvalho, says she enjoyed living in the neighborhood because of the animals and the nature present there. “Alto Leblon stands out because of its proximity to nature. When people think of Leblon, they think of the beach, but what stands out in Alto Leblon is the green, the trees.”
While Carvalho cites tucanoes and maritacas as one of the benefits of this nook’s isolated nature, current resident Ana Carolina Ourivio says there is a price to pay for the neighborhood’s natural life and silent streets: it is very out of the way.
Both Carvalho and Ourivio stressed that the hill make the neighborhood inaccessible, especially for those who do not drive, since the only alternative is to take the community-run shuttle. “The dependency on a car is contradictory to the nature of Leblon, where people do everything on foot,” Julia says.
Ourivio, who previously lived at the top of the hill, says she prefers her current address at Rua Aperana because it combines the silence available at the top and the convenience of living in lower Leblon. She also added that the cobblestone streets, while charming, can become rather hazardous when it rains, a feeling echoed by other inhabitants during a 2008 debate about whether to pave the streets.
For renting, most apartments have between two and four bedrooms and prices range from R$6,000 per month to $15,000 per month, depending on the square footage and the view. As in the rest of Leblon, prices for buying property are steep and an internet search shows three bedroom apartments starting at R$1,300,000.