By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – When most people dream of Rio, they probably picture something like Ipanema: a beautiful beach, populated by young and beautiful people, and a lifestyle of casual luxury that still manages to retain its joie de vivre.
The beach is the natural center of residents’ lives here, with volleyball, foot-volley, surfing and all manner of other sports being enjoyed with gusto from dawn until sunset. Arpoador, the rock that separates Copacabana from Ipanema, is a famous place to congregate and have a drink while the sun goes down, with onlookers even applauding the last rays of sunshine.
Jeff Wilkinson, an American expatriate, commented on what he liked most about living in Ipanema, “The main thing I like is the proximity to the beach. Most days I go every mornings. It is great to work out while taking in the beautiful view.”
He also mentioned the relative safety of the area, “While there are a lot of problems with crime and violence in Rio. I do not see this too much here. I feel relatively safe going out at night.”
Also noting the variety of eateries available, Wilkinson shares, “There are many good restaurants within a short walk: Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, or traditional Brazilian. Whatever your taste and price range, you can find something good.”
Only Leblon can boast more quality restaurants that Ipanema. Le Bistrot du Cuisinier has a reputation as being one of the best French restaurants in the city. For more hearty fare, Casa de Feijoada serves up generous helpings of Brazil’s national dish, Feijoada.
Also the Gringo Cafe is a known favorite for for an American style brunch of eggs or pancakes and it also hosts special menus around events like Thanksgiving. Vegetarians will also be delighted by Teva, on the border between Ipanema and Leblon, which offers inventive, contemporary vegetarian cuisine.
For a night out Canastra is currently the place to be in Ipanema, with great affordable wine and cheese plates – and buzzing crowd. The Blue Agave Mexican bar and restaurant on Rua Vinicius de Moraes is a favorite expatriate hang-out with great nachos and an English speaking crowd.
Public transportation may never have been better for Ipanema, with the new Jardim de Alah and Nossa Senhora da Paz metro subway stops, which connect with Ipanema’s General Osorio and Line 1 directly into Centro.
The neighborhood of Ipanema isn’t inexpensive, with only Leblon having real estate in the city that is more expensive per square meter. Ipanema is currently at around R$17,691 per square meter to buy, higher than three years ago but still below Leblon’s R$20,000.
R$1,100,000 will get a 66 m² two-bedroom apartment with one parking space. The apartment is located on Rua Visconde de Pirajá, two streets away from the beach, and it is described as being both luxury, on a high floor and getting plenty of morning sun, as well as having sea views as pictured.
The rental price in Ipanema is currently around R$59 per square meter, almost pipping Leblon’s average of R$60, and showing how desirable this neighborhood has become.
R$4,500 per month will secure a two-bedroom 109m² apartment complete with a parking space. The apartment comes with a dining hall as well as an outbuilding and it is also described as getting plenty of sun. Located on Rua Visconde de Pirajá as well, it is a short walk to the famous Ipanema beach.