By Tony Maiella, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Surrounded by Botafogo, Lagoa and Jardim Botânico, Humaitá is a small, residential neighborhood full of charm. Roughly just one square kilometer in size, it is one of the few neighborhoods in the Zona Sul (South zone) that still possess riveting colonial architecture. Also, from the main road, Rua Humaitá, it is hard to miss the stunning, immediate view of Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer.
The variety of high quality food options is one of the most significant benefits to enjoy in Humaitá. The Cobal of Humaitá is clearly the landmark of the neighborhood. The Cobal is best described as a mall full of specialty shops, gourmet markets, restaurants and bars.
Historically the space was an old garage for trolley cars before it was converted to a large supermarket called The Cobal and then its current incarnation. In the present day, the Cobal alone holds about seventeen restaurants and bars plus a host of other small shops.
It is especially pleasing to sit and eat at a restaurant here because many of them have abundant open-air seating and are removed from the street. On a Wednesday night, it is common to see the bars like Galeto Mania and Espírito do Chopp packed with football (soccer) fans routing for their teams.
Still, restaurants and bars aren’t the only thing the Cobal has to offer. To get those hard to find food items from home many visit Farinha Pura, a gourmet supermarket. For flowers and plants, visit Nativa Flores or Nova Hera residents can always pick up a bottle of fine imported wine at Espirito do Vinho.
Even outside of the Cobal one can find excellent restaurants most notably on the Humaitá and Botafogo border. A rare find in general for Rio is Vegan Vegan, one of the few establishments serving vegan fare and dishes like vegetable feijoada. Another older restaurant worth mentioning is Botequim, which has more traditional Carioca cuisine served in a beautiful twentieth century house. Plebeu and Restaurante Aurora are also two other traditional restaurant bars in the area.
Though Humaitá is far from an entertainment center like Lapa it still has some independent theaters that put on shows regularly. Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto is an example of an independent theater. Inaugurated in 1983, the space hosts music, dance, and theater, attracting warm crowds looking for entertainment off the beaten path. Cia de Teatro Contemporâneo is another theater nearby.
Like the rest of Rio de Janeiro in light of the current real estate boom in the Zona Sul, Humaitá doesn’t come cheap. For a basic two bedroom apartment in this neighborhood expect to pay upwards of R$600,000 with many prices above R$1,000,000 for bigger more luxurious housing. Those looking to rent a two bedroom apartment can expect to pay anywhere from R$2,500 to R$3,000 per month.
The people that call Humaitá home can enjoy a centrally located, bohemian neighborhood without the bustle of some of the other neighborhoods in Rio. Though the beach is not in sight, the Lagoa is right around the corner and to many Humaitá is a secret that they are happy to keep to themselves.