By Charlotte Markham and Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Arpoador, the tiny beach connecting Ipanema and Copacabana, is a magnet for families seeking to enjoy the protected cove’s views of Sugar Loaf and Dois Irmãos, as well as surfers looking to take advantage of waves that can reach upwards of three meters.
The neighborhood of Arpoador is named after the rock at the end of Ipanema beach. The rock, etched with a crisscross of paths, is a great spot to enjoy one of the best sunsets Rio has to offer, and is often featured as the backdrop of telenovelas, TV broadcasts and advertisements.
Adjacent to the rock is the small Diablo (Devil) Beach, which is often packed in the mornings with both surfers and dog owners. A few steps away is the Garota de Ipanema Park, named after the famous song. The park has skateboard facilities and on the weekends often hosts a roda de samba (live samba).
For dining along the beach, the Hotel Arpoador’s bar, Temporada offers specialties from Argentine chef Christian Garcia, such as crab balls, served with guacamole and rosé sauce, seafood pasties, complimented with watermelon, ginger and basil caipivodkas.
On nearby Rua Francisco Otaviano, the new Bar Surfshop sells customers’ old and new surf boards while also serving light food and drinks including chopp (draft beer), açai and sangria. The restaurant T.T. Burger, part-owned by Thomas Troisgros, son of French chef Claude Troisgros owner of CT Boucherie in Leblon, has a selection of famous gourmet burgers with the waiting lines often spilling out into the street.
At the end other end of Arpoador, connecting to Copacabana, there is Copacabana Fort with a branch of the Colombus Café, where you can try Portuguese patisserie treats while watching stand-up-paddle boarders in the calmer Copacabana beaches.
Mike Smith, an American expatriate living in Rio for over seven years explained, “Arpoador is great because it is so close to the beach on both sides, and is generally less expensive than Ipanema or Leblon. It’s small and feels quaint, even if it takes a few minutes longer to walk to a supermarket.”
Yet being small and located by the beach means Arpoador is not a cheap area. Currently, one of Brazil’s most expensive boutique hotels, Fasano, is located on the conjunction with Ipanema. With rooms costing upwards of US$800 a night, celebrity guests can often be seen enjoying the view from their private balconies.
Prime real estate for sale, like a one-bedroom apartment, starts at R$1.2 million. A two-bedroom varies between R$2 million to R$3.8 million. Three-bedroom apartments with a view are listed at R$4.5 million or without a view on Rua Francisco Otaviano, slightly lower at R$3.6 million, which includes car parking spaces. Although the average cost of property stands at R$11.259 per meter squared, not that different to Botafogo, some beach-facing apartments drive the prices up.
Rent costs per square meter are an average of R$64, but you can find one bedroom apartments for R$3500. If you want a view of the beaches a two bedroom will go up to R$8,000- R$10,000. These prices match some of the most prestigious neighborhood costs, but Arpoador could be worth while for beach lovers.
Former Arpoador resident, Brazilian musician Lucas Paiva said, “considering all the positives of living in Arpoador, the best part is you are always extremely close to the sea.”