By Scarlet Bringuenti Bennett, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Recreio dos Bandeirantes (or 'Recreio' as it is known by locals) sits to the west of Barra da Tijuca, and 35 km from the Rio's city center - or about an 1.5 hour drive. It is known for the lack of skyscrapers that line Barra's beach, as well as great surfing, a relaxed pace and a generally less expensive cost of living.

Development in the area began in 1959, and the name Recreio dos Bandeirantes, ("Bandeirantes' Leisure") is homage to the Bandeiras, who were 17th-century Portuguese settlers . . .

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