By Joanna Hansford, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Bordered by the districts: Botafogo, Jardim Botânico and Lagoa, the small and charming neighborhood, Humaitá has a lot to offer. It may appear humbler in comparison to chic and famous bairros (neighborhoods), such as Leblon and Ipanema, yet, Humaitá maintains a quaint residential environment while boasting popular, traditional and bohemian bars, shops and restaurants.
In the 1960s the removal of Favela Macedo Sobrinho marked a vital transformation in the region, widening the main road, a Rua Humaitá, and allowing for the creation of the national park, Parque Natural Municipal da Saudade.
In 2010, a population of over 13,000 people, living in little over 6,500 residences, was recorded within the small (just 1 Km2) area named after the battle of Humaitá, during the War of Paraguay. Like a lot of Zona Sul (South Zone), the majority of the inhabitants of Humaitá are considered to be upper middle class.
Humaitá is situated on a major through-city road providing easy access to the Zona Norte (Noth Zone) and international airport by Tunel Rebouças, as well as surrounding neighborhoods in Zona Sul.
In regard to entertainment available in the area, Scott Feiner, a musician and American expatriate who has lived in Rio for over ten years tells The Rio Times, “There are definitely more bars and restaurants in Humaitá and Botafogo now. […] To just hang out with friends there are a bunch of options. Cobal do Humaitá is kind of a default. Meza Bar for something fancier. I also like Comuna which is a few blocks down, deeper into Botafogo.”
One of the main attractions in Humaitá is certainly the hub of bustling restaurants, bars and stores selling fresh agricultural products, known as Cobal da Humaitá.
Neil Sleight, from Scotland, who has lived in Rio for two years says, “Humaitá has a good location between Botafogo and the Lagoa, plus Farinha Pura [at Cobal da Humaitá] is a good place to buy foreign beers.”
Marcia Noronha de Mello, a Brazilian who has lived in Rio de Janeiro for over sixty years says, “I like Cobal because I can find exotic and fresh produce, plus there are various bars and restaurant options.”
A variety of popular cuisine are available at affordable prices at restaurants and bars such as Manekineko, Rota 66, Pizza Park, Espirito do Chopp, Joaquina and Galeto Mania. Cobal da Humaitá sits between the main roads, Voluntários da Pátria and Rua Humaitá, offering both secure parking and a beautiful backdrop of Christ the Redeemer.
However, the attractions of Humaitá don’t end there, long-established restaurants such as Aurora, on Rua Capitão Salomão, or Botequim on Rua Visconde de Caravelas, serve traditional Brazilian and Portuguese dishes, and are frequented by journalists, musicians, artists: a typically bohemian crowd.
Humaitá is also home to cultural attractions, such as Casa de Españha, with sports facilities, Spanish classes, a Spanish restaurant and function rooms; or Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto, with theater, music, dance and other such exhibitions. The famous Academia Gracie for Jiu Jitsu may also be found here.
Due to the prime location of Humaitá, property and rental prices are not cheap. Zap.com.br indicates that a simple two bedroom flat, may be rented from around R$2,700 per month. For those looking to buy, two-bedroom flats are priced at a minimum of around R$800,000, an average increase of 33 percent since 2011).
In 2009, a spacious two-bedroom apartment could be found for R$250,000 and up. For a two-bedroom rentals were anywhere between R$700 to R$1,500, depending on size, outdoor space and views. These tremendous increases have been city-wide however, and still values may vary substantially depending on location.