By Bhamika Bhudia, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Adjoining the famous Copacabana beach is the lesser known but just as spectacular Leme beach. This small area which sits between Morro do Leme and Morro da Babilônia, offers the views and beach as does Copacabana but without the chaos. Here a real estate gem can be found for those who want the city without the congestion.
Named after the resemblance of its inhabiting mountain to the helm of a ship, Leme is an area favored by an older demographic, both local and foreign, as well as families. It is a prime location due to its tranquility but close proximity to the restaurants, shopping and amenities offered in Copacabana.
Not without its energy though, Leme hosted the Palco Beat 98, one of four concert stages, for 2011 Reveillon (New Year’s Eve) celebration, and was also the part of the beach where offerings to the sea goddess happened.
Walking trails used by both fisherman and beach-goers begin from Morro do Leme, and the cobbled stone path which goes up the mountain into the rainforest allows views of tropical foliage as well as birds, monkeys and other small animals. A trail also leads to Praia Vermelha which sits at the foot of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf) and spectacular views of the city’s most famous mountain can be found in the Leme vicinity.
According to local resident Cristiane Fernandez, “Leme is a very nice area to live because it is safe here, the beach is not so crowded and there are nice restaurants. It is small but if I want to go out, the subway is close and I can get to other places easily.”
She adds that the natural environment also makes the area appealing as “the forest on the mountain is beautiful and it is very close and not very crowded.”
Prices have risen considerably over the last six months with a one bedroom apartment in the area which averaged around R$300,000 in August, having shot up to R$350,000 in some cases. A two bedroom from R$300,000 up to R$500,000 and a four bedroom apartment from R$500,000 up to a staggering R$1.3 million.
The situation with rentals is similar, with a one bedroom averaging R$1,200 in August, now varying from R$1,500 to R$3,000 per month and a two bedroom rising from R$1,700 to R$3,000 per month in some instances.
While Leme is on the opposite side of of Copacabana from the more posh Ipanema and Leblon, if offers a great beach, a mature and safe community, and its own slice of paradise.