The best places to live in Rio De Janeiro are found all over the city. Brazil is quickly rising as one of the favorite emerging economies in the world and can easily be named one of the best countries to live and invest in South America. Having spent over 6 months in the unique city one can claim that it is indeed a unique city in the world.
Tens of millions of dollars are being investing into the city for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
The city is rapidly changing due to the investment and the emergence of city’s economy. Rio De Janeiro and the country as a whole have become one of the most expensive places to live in South America because of how rapidly things are improving.
The first question that arises by those curious to live in Rio De Janeiro are the dangers of living in the city.
Stories of favelas (shanty towns with very high crime) and drug lords have unfortunately stained Rio De Janeiro’s reputation very similar to Medellin, Colombia.
There are many things that make Rio De Janeiro a unique place to live. It isn’t just because of its distinctive landscape and towering statue of Christ. It is not because it hosts one of the most popular beaches in the world with everlasting visions of beauty.
No, Rio De Janeiro is also unique because of the city’s culture and people.
Brazilians from all over the country arrive in the bustling city for a chance at opportunity. The world’s attention is on Rio De Janeiro. It is one of the largest cities in the world, the fourth richest city in Latin America, and has a unique balance for everyone.
Living in Rio De Janeiro one can find lagoons, beautiful beach front property, unique & diverse nightlife, mountains, and great cuisine.
Rio De Janeiro’s Renaissance
The former capital city of Brazil has gone through a major renaissance both culturally and economically. Up until April 22nd, 1960, Rio De Janeiro used to be the capital of Brazil. The capital officially moved to Brasilia but many business decided to stay.
Having been the capital of Brazil for more than 300 years there is an abundance of history in the city.
Old historical palaces continue to be renovated into museums and public offices. Many corporations have remained in the city as well which have contributed to its dynamic business landscape.
Centro Rio De Janeiro has now started to become a cultural hub with several events held throughout the month. A massive restoration effort has been made to renovate and rejuvenate several neighborhoods. The area of Lapa known as the party district and also the heart of Rio is at the focus of these changes.
Recently, the economic prospects of the city have dramatically risen as well.
Rio De Janeiro is now at the heart of the busy oil industry. Contrary to the filthy vision that brings the city is segmented beautifully with unique landscapes. There are plenty of open spaces, parks, and even outdoor gyms that many locals use consistently.
Brazil is continuing to rise in prominence and economic prowess. As Rio de Janeiro continues to be the face of the country it will provide great opportunity for citizens around the world.
Things to know about living in Rio de Janeiro
When considering living in Rio de Janeiro one must consider that the city is divided into two sections, north and south. The south hosts the majority of the attractive areas to live and is mostly comprised of middle to upper income households (there are some lower-income pockets).
Popular neighborhoods in south Rio de Janeiro include Copacabana and Ipanema.
The farther north one moves away from Centro Rio de Janeiro (northwest the way a map is laid out) the more l lower income neighborhoods arise. This means more crime. There are great neighborhoods north of Centro but that is a general rule of thumb.
There are only a handful of favelas that do not have police and most of those can be found in the north.
The line in the sand is Centro & Lapa (see map below).
The city is built around the coast and the interior is mainly mountainous with pockets of protected forest areas. It is one of the most unique cities that I have lived in overseas.
Safety in Rio de Janeiro
The dangers in Rio de Janeiro are the same that one would find in any other large metropolitan area. The horrible stories and rumors that once heralded news headlines are no more.
A new visitor or resident of the city should use common sense while moving around.
Be very cautious entering mountainous areas that look like shantytowns. One can identify these areas by the brightly colored homes that are essentially sheets of metal.
There is still a high level of caution among Rio de Janeiro’s citizens and its always important to remian vigilant. Don’t carry around large bundles of cash and ensure to be mindful of surroundings.
One would need to be more attentive in crowded areas such as nightlife events in Lapa or spending the day at the beach. If one wants to be extra careful don’t go any further north than the Metro station Uruguaiana.
There were many things to be considered when thinking about the best neighborhoods to live in Rio de Janeiro. The prices have risen substantially in just the last year due to the investment in the city.
Costs will only rise so it is important to have a balance between affordability and convenience. One of the highest variables for us is convenience. Everyone always wants to be close enough to where the action is.
At the same time the general populace also wants to be able to save money.
The neighborhood of Flamengo is a poor man’s Rio de Janeiro. It is a great middle-class neighborhood with an okay beach. Flamengo is well situated in between Centro and the popular beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. A 10 minute Metro ride will send anyone where they want to be in the city.
One may be lucky enough to find a condo with a view of the popular Sugarloaf Mountain. There aren’t any negative aspects of Flamengo other than there are better places to live.
The neighborhood of Leblon is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. This can be equated to Manhattan in New York City, not quite ultra expensive but very upper-class.
Leblon has a great beach and is just south of the popular beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
The culture here is quite different with very clean streets, eclectic restaurants, and higher than average efficiency. If the power ever goes out in Rio de Janeiro (not common) Leblon would be one of the neighborhoods where power would be restored first. The downside to Leblon is the cost, definitely one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.
The neighborhood of Tijuca is a great middle-class neighborhood in the interior of Rio de Janeiro. Tijuca is great for those that are cost conscious and don’t want to live in a paperback. Many times you can find a place to live in Rio de Janeiro for a few hundred dollars a month sharing a room with someone else.
The rooms are not that big in Rio de Janeiro.
Tijuca is quite far from where most people want to be. A ride on the Metro could take upwards of 20 to 30 minutes or possibly more to just get to a beach.
Be advised that it would of utmost important to plan ahead. Many people have trouble finding a place to live in Rio de Janeiro. The best resource to find a great apartments is Homeaway.com.
Stay away from Google searches containing any variations of “apartments in Rio de Janeiro” as you will only find the apartment mafia. Specifically, companies that are geared to overcharging tourists. Here are the best places to live in Rio de Janeiro:
Nestled on a hill in between Flamengo and Centro, Santa Teresa was the bane of my existence for two months when I first arrived in the city. It was very hard to live in Santa Teresa because of the distances and the reliability of services.
Internet for example is something that must be given considerable thought. Continuing to look for investing opportunities in Brazil it was very difficult to do business while living in Santa Teresa.
It was enjoyable as long as I never wanted to leave the apartment . The viability of opening a day trading center in Brazil quickly diminished as business as usual could not be conducted.
Here is a video of our penthouse we rented in Santa Teresa:
One would think that any emerging economy wouldn’t have these kinds of problems. If extra caution is not taken one will end up with unreliable services.
The neighborhood is rustic and is filled with colonial architecture at every turn. A hill comprising of a mostly residential neighborhood one can find majestic architecture and an endless supply of winding roads.
There is no denying Santa Teresa will provide incredible views of Rio de Janeiro.
One will be able to find privacy and some convenience if located in the vicinity of the party district of Lapa.
There are significant downsides to living in Santa Teresa as mentioned earlier. It is extremely far from most conveniences. Any major supermarket is roughly 30 to 40 minutes away (assuming mass transport is taken). This of course will depend on location.
Lots of extra money will be spent taking taxis (if one can be found) to many places in order to save time. The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are a minimum of 30 minutes away.
If one needs any kind of department store or special item a special trip will have to be taken into the city center. It is nothing but a residential area with impressionable views of the city. One could easily find privacy and a penthouse overlooking the popular statue of Christ or the coast.
The neighborhood of Botafogo was my favorite neighborhood in all of Rio de Janeiro. A great middle-class environment and a location that is central to everything. I was very close to looking into international movers to make it my home base and the transition much easier.
There are shopping malls just a short Metro or taxi ride away. One can also find the popular beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema Beach roughly 10 minutes away.
The vibe at Botafogo is something that everyone should experience. It has great conveniences with Metro stops every few blocks and even small tree-lined streets for those that want a bit of privacy.
Impressive apartments can be found with incredible direct views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
While the beach at Botafogo cannot be compared to Ipanema or Copacabana it definitely holds its own. One could easily walk to the beach of Copacabana from Botafogo.
Upon returning to Rio De Janeiro I will be procuring an apartment in this great neighborhood.
Sadly, the glorious vision of Copacabana cannot be compared to what it was years ago. The neighborhood is dilapidated and is one of the most touristy areas in the entire city.
One of the reasons Botafogo is a great place to stay is because it’s far enough away from the tourists but close enough to where the action is.
Having said that Copacabana is still Copacabana.
It is at the heart of where the movers and shakers are (old money) and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if redevelopment projects were already underway. It is a very convenient part of the city where people want to be.
Some deals can be had in Copacabana but most residents are looking at other up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Cinelandia and Ipanema. The area still has great convenience but definitely needs a lot of work.
If money isn’t an option Ipanema would be highly recommended over Copacabana.
The neighborhood of Cinelandia is a newly renovated neighborhood that has turned into an arts district. The area is incredibly convenient with a short walk to Lapa and other places downtown (Centro).
Cinelandia is the neighborhood I called home for nearly 4 months in Rio de Janeiro.
Similar to Botafogo, you can really experience the city and its people in Cinelandia. I really enjoyed living in great loft I located in the center of the city. It is the location where we actively tried to open a day trading center.
The third Thursday of every month a local Samba band plays, there is an endless amount of exhibitions and city events nearby, and is extremely safe.
One could easily get to various markets in the Centro or even explore the endless local restaurants in the area or in Lapa.
A Metro can be found in a short walking distance away from most residential buildings. There also happens to be a great interest in continuing to renovate the neighborhood of Cinelandia.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see new buildings and entire residential complexes being constructed within a few years. It is definitely the up and coming area which is now starting in the initial stages of being developed.
Ipanema is the best neighborhood to live in Rio de Janeiro. Not having the cost conscious in mind Ipanema is the heart that beats in Rio de Janeiro.
Great restaurants, great nightlife, and Ipanema is a short distance to amazing locations such as the only lagoon in the city. This is where most tourists & residents of the city want to be or want to be near.
Ipanema is commonly known as the new Copacabana.
The only downside to Ipanema is that it’s quite touristy (not as much is Copacabana) and the high cost of living. If living on the beach and having incredible views of the coast are a priority Ipanema is where a heart will be fulfilled.
A filled pocketbook is the only thing one will be in short supply living here. Many travelers who want an affordable stay in Brazil often live as backpackers in Ipamena.
No matter what your option in Rio De Janeiro is the city is set to be one of the best places to live not only in South America, but the world. It could easily be placed in the world rankings of best places to live.