By Shalina Chatlani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL- Gávea, located in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), is an affluent residential neighborhood that offers the perks of a city living within the comfort of green tree-lined streets. With its eclectic eateries and nightlife, relatively safe up-market housing options, and well known academic institutions, Gávea, which translates to “topsail” in Portuguese, is a gem of the Cidade Maravilhosa.
Sandwiched in between popular areas of Leblon and Jardim Botânico, Gávea lies in a prime location. Residents of Gávea are located within walking distance, a bike ride, or ten minute bus ride to the beautiful gardens of Jardim Botânico and Parque Lage, as well as the beach and popular upscale restaurants and shopping in Leblon.
One of Gávea’s defining characteristics is its student life, which lends to neighborhood’s younger nightlife options. Pontifica Universidade Catolica (Pontifical Catholic University or PUC) is a top private university at the end of Gávea that attracts Rio’s wealthiest students and a number of foreign exchange students from around the world.
PUC Students and neighborhood locals gather every Thursday around Praça Santos Dumont until Street José Roberto Soares in the neighborhood’s bar and restaurant quarter, known as Baixo Gávea. Here, the crowd sprawls out into the streets, bar-hopping along the different venues that line the square, including Gorata de Gávea, Bar do Alemão, and Bar Hipódromo.
Another icon of Rio entertainment can be found at the “Hipódromo da Gávea” race track, also known as the Jockey Club, built in 1926. The races normally take place during weekend evenings, and fans of the sport can bet on a horse, as well as find event times at the Jockey Club’s official website.
A well known gastronomic and commercials center in the neighborhood is Shopping da Gávea, one of the larger malls in Rio. Located on Street Marquês de São Vicente, the shopping mall has over 220 stores. Additionally, Gávea also has its own beautiful garden called “Parque da Cidade,” an environmental conservation unit that’s open to the public.
The neighborhood saw huge growth in property value in the last five years – as did most of Rio – amplified by the plans to open a new Gávea metro (subway) station. The new public transportation line was scheduled to be completed before the Olympics in August, now however the plans have been delayed and the inauguration is set for December 2016.
As a result, along with city-wide trends, apartment rental prices are lower than what they were in 2013. Yet they remain about the same as the beachfront Leblon and equally charming Jardim Botânico, among the most prestigious in Rio.
The average apartment purchase price per square meter has dropped since last December by about .4 percent, reaching R$13,254 in July 2015. Rents per month have fallen by 6.7 percent in the same period, a little lower than the level as one year ago with an average R$53 per square meter in July, according to FipeZap.