By Shalina Chatlani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The neighborhood of Copacabana located in the popular Zona Sul (South Zone) of Rio is well known around the world for its beautiful beaches. However, the area, which stretches from Leme to the edge of Ipanema at Copacabana Fort, offers much more than its bikini-laden shores, as it is home to a number of different nightlife options, affordable restaurants and cafés, and shopping centers that cater to all ages and socioeconomic groups.
While part of the city has become more affluent since the pacification of the surrounding favelas began in 2009, property rates usually fall within an affordable range for most middle class families. Moreover, Copacabana’s large size ensures that there are always apartments available.
Claudio Falcão, a resident of Copacabana for over twenty years, commented that in his experience Copacabana can be a difficult place to live in. “For two or three months, you can live here with a relatively high standard of living, in a small apartment,” he said, “but, it is quite expensive here.” He added, however, that Copacabana is still less expensive than Leblon, and overall he has still really enjoyed living in the neighborhood.
The average apartment purchase price per square meter in Copacabana has dropped since last December by about 0.5 percent, reaching R$11,602 in July 2015. Since a full year ago, rents per month have also dropped 8.2 percent from R$53 to R$48 per square meter, according to FipeZap. With the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games, however, property rates might rise slightly again. Thus, now is a good time to be looking at apartment values.
In addition to the neighborhood’s relatively affordable living standards, Copacabana is also easily accessible from most other parts of the city via bike, bus, or the metro. Siqueira Campos metro stop, in fact, lies right in the middle of the neighborhood, and it’s a comfortable five minute walk away from Copacabana Beach at Posto 4 or straight shot from the popular alternative nightclub Fosfobox.
The waterfront boasts a number of medium priced restaurants and swanky hotels along Avenida Atlântica, including the famous Copacabana Palace, a favorite of royals and celebrities, in addition to a plethora of affordable bar kiosks that often have live music and deliciously cheap caipirinhas.
Visitors and city residents can also take a ten minute cab ride to hike on Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf) or take a direct bus leaving from the Lido square to Christ the Redeemer. Another option is a stroll through the art gallery shopping center on Rua Siqueira Campos 143, which has a record shops, antiques, a live theater, and second hand book stores. At the very least, one can walk along the shore to find and take a picture with the statue of renowned Brazilian poet Drummond.
There are several nightlife options in Copacabana, such as the dive bars along Rua Barata Ribeiro, such as Pavão Azul, for those on a budget. Rua Bolívar, as well, is lined with popular botecos (bars) and fast food joints, including Belmonte for a classic choppe (beer) and Zot for a nice glass of wine. The street ends with movie theater, Roxy, where cinema lovers can enjoy the latest Brazilian film and even some American pieces.
Another gem for movie-goers is vintage style movie theater Cine Joia, that often plays foreign films. There are also some great eateries like Gaia Art & Cafe, which often has live acoustic music and offers delicious vegetarian food, Azumi, an authentic Japanese sushi house, Le Blé Noir, a classic French pancake restaurant that’s perfect for a first date, and Melóa, a little outdoor cafe with delicious pastries and free wifi.