Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Vivendo no Rio

Iyna Bort Caruso

Carnival, coastline, samba, bossa nova. Rio de Janeiro enjoys an outsized reputation for the good life, a reason it’s one of the most visited cities in South America.

Despite its glamour and relaxed vibe, Rio is an economic stronghold, second only to Sao Paulo, and an important hub for Brazilian manufacturing, oil and financial services. 

Rio sits along the Atlantic Coast with a string of some of the most celebrated beaches in the world, notably Copacabana and Ipanema. The city is surrounded by an astonishing landscape that includes the massive urban tropical forest of Tijuca National Park. Postcard views command every direction, most famously the Christ the Redeemer statue that sits atop the summit of Corcovado Mountain, named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

Rio was settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century. In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, the Portuguese royal family moved to Rio in 1808 turning the colony into the capital of the Brazilian Empire. After independence in 1822, Rio remained the federal capital until the seat of government was moved to Brasilia in 1960. 

Today Rio is a cultural capital, a city where ex-pats feel welcome. The vast majority of international property buyers hail from the United States and, to a lesser degree, Europe. Colonial-era mansions, apartments with private beach access and contemporary duplexes comprise choice real estate options. Beachfront residences in the city’s Zona Sul, South Zone, are home to the wealthiest neighborhoods, not just in Rio but on the continent. The zone’s fashionable surfside stretches of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana are destinations for sophisticated shopping, top restaurants and glitzy nightlife. The relatively young district of Barra Da Tijuca in the Zona Oeste, or West Zone, is an emerging enclave for the affluent with its share of luxury beachfront properties and careful sustainable development.

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