By Jack Arnhold, Contriburting Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – São Conrado is one of Rio’s most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods. Located off the tourist trail, tucked away westward from neighboring Leblon and Gávea, it has forged a reputation as a place where Rio’s wealthy elite can find themselves a more spacious apartment in bucolic surroundings.
However, that is not to say that the neighborhood is out of the way. Due to the recently completed metro line, São Conrado is now well-connected to the rest of Zona Sul (South Zone) and beyond.
Though many thought that increased transport links would bring an influx of investment, due to the recent property slump and economic uncertainties, prices have remained expensive but have still fallen like the rest of the city.
The iconic Pedra da Gávea dominates the skyline, but it is from the nearby Pedra Bonita where many locals and tourists alike come to participate in the most famous activity São Conrado has to offer: hang-gliding. The neighborhood is also well-known for its world-class golf course and secluded beaches that are a favorite among surfers.
Many people also visit São Conrado for the Fashion Mall, one of Rio’s largest and most exclusive shopping centers, which offers a total experience of designer and brand outlets, high-end restaurants, plus an on-site cinema and theater.
The neighborhood was once also the home to Oscar Niemeyer, the man whose architectural vision shaped Brazil and Rio for much of the twentieth century. He designed and built his own residence, Casa das Canoas, which is considered to be one of the most spectacular examples of residential modernist architecture; and, since his death, it has been made open to the public.
The restaurant scene in São Conrado is dominated by the luxury hotels and shopping malls, who house many of the best, and most expensive, places to eat. Restaurante Aquarela, in the Pullman Hotel, is particularly famous for its ocean views and high-quality international cuisine. And Pipo’s, in the Fashion Mall, offers acclaimed contemporary style tapas tasting platters.
The neighborhood of São Conrado also borders Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela community, which has recently seen increased violence and destabilization. However São Conrado rarely seems affected by the troubles there and only on rare occasion feel any impact.
French expatriate Charlie Jonas from luxury real estate agency, Rio Exclusive, shares, “São Conrado is a small city within Rio de Janeiro that comprises all the qualities and drawbacks that one can find elsewhere in the marvelous city.”
Adding, “São Conrado can […] be a very nice area to live in especially since the metro opened for the Olympics. One can find beautiful properties there, whether they are apartments or houses.”
Make no mistake, São Conrado is a luxury neighborhood, and finding inexpensive priced apartments to rent or to buy is not easy. Though, as is often the case in Rio de Janeiro, location is paramount. And the further away from the sea, the country clubs and the shopping malls the property is, the more affordable it usually becomes.
Prices currently run at about R$13,000 per square meter, to buy, and R$40 per square meter, to rent. R$750,000 will get a 114m² two-bedroom apartment replete with a fitted kitchen and a balcony, two parking spaces, plus access to a shared private pool, playground, sports court and leisure area.
Though R$2,500 per month can secure a 114m² three-bedroom apartment on Estrada da Gávea located near the beach and the famous Fashion Mall. This apartment also comes with a balcony, one parking space, and access to a private party room, barbecue area and pool.