By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – One of Rio’s oldest and most traditional neighborhoods, Tijuca is so grand and all-encompassing that it often feels like a different city altogether. Though its excellent transport links, sense of community and comparatively lower property prices make it a popular choice for Cariocas.
Tijuca is known as a sprawling middle-class, family-friendly neighborhood situated just west of the city center. It is famous for its colonial mansions, and for being the birthplace of many legendary Brazilian musicians, including Tom Jobin, Tim Maia and Milton Nascimento.
The neighborhood’s proud musical legacy extends beyond these notable Tijucanos and also includes three of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest samba schools, Acadêmicos do Salgueiro, Unidos da Tijuca and Império da Tijuca, which have won many Carnival titles (around thirteen) and regularly compete in the prestigious ‘Special Group’ of Rio’s Carnival.
Antonio Castro, a teacher and Tijuca resident for twenty years, commented on the close-knit feel of the neighborhood, “Compared to the South Zone and Centre, people are more humble and communicative here. Strangers say ‘hi’ to each other, and it has a more intimate feel with lots of little events going on all the time.”
With regards to recent changes he mentioned how the World Cup and Olympics impacted the neighborhood, “There were evident changes when preparations were made for the World Cup. Lots more police arrived, and dismantled some organized crime networks.” Though he lamented that crime has recently increased, as is the trend with the rest of the city.
In terms of cultural activity, Castro recommended Sesc Tijuca as the cultural center of the neighborhood. A huge complex that includes a theatre space, library, sporting facilities and a swimming pool, it regularly holds concerts, plays and other cultural events.
With the third largest urban forest in the world on its doorstep, Tijucanos are spoilt for outdoor activities, including nature trails, hikes, stunning views and hidden waterfalls. Though the forest can be dangerous, with robberies sometimes occurring, the majority of people who explore it, with or without a guide, have a peaceful experience.
Tijuca has much to offer in the way of food and drink, such as Otto Restaurant, by Uruguai metro station, known for serving high-quality Italian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. For drinks and bar snacks, Bar do Momo freshly prepares some of the best pasteis (pastries) and bolinhos (fried balls potato mixed with cod or beef) in the city.
Being located in ‘Zona Norte’ (North Zone), Tijuca’s property prices are lower than neighborhoods in Zona Sul (South Zone), and are more comparable to Santa Teresa, nearby. However, the neighborhood offers exceptional transport links with four metro stations, including the recently opened Estação Uruguai (Uruguay subway station).
The average price to buy is currently at R$8,171 per square meter while the average price to rent is around R$20 per square meter. And while property prices have gone up since Tijuca was last featured in 2011, rent prices haven’t changed much since the neighborhood was profiled for the Olympics.
R$717,000 will get a three-bedroom 114m² apartment on Rua Doutor Satamini, described as being ‘perfectly located for people who don’t want to sit in traffic jams,’ as it is within close walking distance to two metro stations: São Francisco Xavier and Afonso Pena. As well as three bedrooms, the apartment comes with two bathrooms, a large kitchen and an office space, as well as including one parking space.
R$1,655 per month is enough to secure a 102m² three-bedroom apartment on Rua Valparaíso, near to the metro station São Francisco Xavier. The apartment is described as large, coming with two panoramic balconies, a lounge, a kitchen, plus two parking spaces.