By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Located in the city’s Zona Oeste (West Zone) Barra da Tijuca is the newest of Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhoods, with much of it only having been developed as recently as the 1980s. It was also home to over half of the Olympic activity in 2016, and has benefited in both new accommodations and infrastructure.
Being one of the larger and more affluent bairros (neighborhoods) in Rio, Barra da Tijuca has an abundant array of facilities and venues, including the biggest olympic village in the world, now the location of the internationally famous ‘Rock in Rio’ festival as well the Jeunesse Arena (formerly Arena Olímpica) a musical venue that plays host to bestselling domestic and international acts.
Other world class facilities in Barra da Tijuca include its olympic golf course, a major campus of the internationally renowned PUC university, one half of the British School, the Swiss-Brazilian International School, and the biggest convention center in South America, Riocentro.
Its coastline is also known for its natural beauty, attracting both surfers and windsurfers as well as people from the city looking for peace and quiet on one of its many secluded beaches.
For a culinary hub, the neighborhood offers restaurants catering to almost every taste, with over twenty shopping malls all containing many diverse dining options on-site, as well as world-class hotels also containing their own restaurants.
Mocellin Steak, on Avenida Armando Lombardi, offers near to perfect steaks in a city that prides itself on serving great quality meat. While Camarada Camarao, in the Rio Design Shopping Mall, serves excellent seafood dishes. And Quadrofoglio is an acclaimed Italian-style restaurant that is also vegetarian friendly.
For a residential district, Barra da Tijuca has a reputation for lively and chic nightlife. Its most popular clubs are Pink Elephant, which has a a capacity for 400 people and is known for being intimate yet lively; and Zax, which, in true Barra da Tijuca style, is massive, with three-floors, VIP areas and private lounges.
Transport in Barra da Tijuca is centered almost entirely around cars. Jardim Oceânico is the most westerly metro station on Rio’s network and barely encroaches into Barra da Tijuca. After that, residents either drive or take the BRT, a high-speed network of buses which travel on their own roads, away from any traffic.
Ricardo Shubert, a lifelong resident and language student, reflected on life in Barra da Tijuca, “The growth and development of the neighborhood is the thing that strikes me most. In a short time the place was created, grew and it maintains that sense of momentum. But in the last five years this growth seems to be more about stability. It is a good experience to reside in Barra; however, it can be a bit of an effort to get around.”
Barra da Tijuca attracts the rich and famous and because of this, prices aren’t cheap. It also was one of the main neighborhoods affected by the Rio property boom and prices are still taking time to adjust. At the moment they stand at around R$12,000 per square meter to buy and R$33.50 per square meter to rent
Most apartments are fairly small-sized but very modern with usually excellent facilities. For example, just over R$1 million will get a two-bedroom 100m² apartment in ‘Lê Parc’ residential resort, complete with two parking spaces and a plethora of private facilities including swimming pools, gyms, squash and tennis courts as well as 24-hour security.
R$2,600 per month will secure a two-bedroom 70m² apartment in ‘Bora Bora’ residential resort, with a balcony and access to facilities and shops all on site within the residence, including a bakery, a nightclub, tennis courts, swimming pools, playgrounds, a barbecue area and a gym.