Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
The least known of the central beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Leblon is referenced as the safest but the most expensive.
Well, safe it was, expensive... one thing are the patterns for locals, the other is for tourists.
For us, the price is generally higher, no matter the country and town that you visit. So, there was no reason to sacrifice the security, and we didn't, but we were there in winter, caught some bad days, and swim has been impossible.
The pollution of the lagoon Rodrigo de Freitas, sometimes invades the sea, and the nearby beaches are affected. That was the case of Ipanema during our visit, but not Leblon. But I think you should verify this before any reserve
Separated from Ipanema by a canal, Leblon is one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Rio. The name Leblon is a corruption of le Blond, the name of the wealthy Frenchman who once owned this piece of land. Like Ipanema and Copacabana, Leblon saw its mansions replaced with modern tower blocks over the past decades. With only a handful of hotels, the area is more residential than touristy and contains many good restaurants and lots of high end shopping. A pointed twin peak, named Morro Dois Irmãos ("two brothers"), with a visible favela, serves as a backdrop to Leblon. The beach is popular with families, but it is said that sea pollution is a problem here (though not in Ipanema), particularly after heavy rains.
At first sight it seems to be only one, but actually that long beavh is divided by three, Arpoador, Ipanema and LEBLON.
Leblon is in the right hand of the coast, and it is actually the most exclusive district in our shore, at least the place has an unique style, and the point where the beach is divided is in the Jardim do Alah where you can see a channel which gives water to the Lagoon called Rodrigo de Freitas or simply known as Lagoa. The tide there is really strong so avoid swimming in this area!
May 11th, 2006
Leblon is a bairro , immediately adjacent to Ipanema and ends where the beach blvd "hits" the DOIS IRMÃOS rock, an impressive, a few hundred meters high, solid piece of a rock formation... There the beach blvd turns into narrow and winding Ave. Oscar Niemeyer (the "Brasilia architect", have a look at my Brasilia page...) that will lead you from Leblon to São Conrado..(another bairro ).
Way at the beginning of Ave. Oscar Niemeyer there's an ample terrace made out of wood from where you can see all of Leblons and Ipanemas shores and feel like you're in the agitated water below you... Last year around Xmas we stopped there and also shot a few pics.... This was about ten minutes before a nasty summer storm broke loose, but we were able to save ourselves into the car before getting wet to the skin.....
Pic # 1: I with Thales Gabriel (4 years) sporting some artificial smiles with a sky looking threatening and menacing behind us...
Pic # 2: Five of my six kids, Thales in Vinicius' arm , kneeling Anna and Denis and Benji standing on the right....The two girls in the middle are Evani (pink top), Annas nanny and Miraci ( white top), Evanis cousin.....
This lookout terrace is a nice place to spend 15 minutes but not when it pours....
Leblon is right next to Ipanema and a neighborhood for well-to-do people. There are plenty of bars (botequims), restaurants and clubs to go to. Some of the choices are Melt for some dancing or Davessa if you prefer to hang out and have a beer.
Leblon is the continuation of Ipanema neighborhood and beach. Their separation border is the place known as Jardim de Alah, a nice place with a lovely channel in it. Leblon is even more classy than Ipanema, and its discos and restaurants are also the preferred by tourists and locals. Lodging in here is also expensive, more than in Ipanema.
Although I liked the place, I think it lacked the life that you can find in any other places in Rio. There are some discos and pubs that might be attractive for tourists (like Cozumel or Melk discos, I went twice and they were cool). But as for the rest, like restaurants or attractions, it seemed to me a neighborhood as quiet and normal as any other. It didn't had the lively sparkle that I found in Ipanema or Copacabana. Indeed, its beach didn't look as swimming-tempting to me as that of Ipanema. Leblon would be the ideal place to spend one afternoon doing shopping (if I can afford their high prices, hehe :-) or one night dancing. No more than that.
Ipanema and Leblon are contiguous and, if you are walking along the beachfront, you might pass from one to the other without noticing. Ipanema ends, and Leblon starts, where the canal from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas comes out to the sea (you may notice it by a power shovel and a mound of sand on the beach; the canal has to be excavated continuously to prevent it from being blocked by sand).
In Leblon, there are few beachfront restaurants and bars; people, both residents and tourists alike, come here to take part in the beach life and the stroll along the sea. You can stop at one of the kiosks on the side of the pavement for the refreshing treat of coconut water. For me, it's the best of Rio's in-town beaches.
Inland, Leblon is a posh neighborhood of upscale condos and shops, and it has a particularly good selection of restaurants (a couple of them reviewed under the restaurant section).
On the far western end of Ipanema is the area known as Leblon. When you're walking on the beach, you can walk toward the mountain peak that is visible on one end of the beach and you'll know you're walking toward Leblon. If you're walking away from the beach, you'll know you're in Leblon when you cross the drainage canal that drains water from the lagoon into the ocean. Also, Av. Vieira Souto becomes Av. Delfim Moreira. This area is full of good restaurants, most of them clustered on or near Av. Ataulfo de Paiva.
Leblon and Ipanema are really nice places to just walk pointlessly. There is something happening everywhere (especially in the afternoon). Here is the street by the beach in Leblon. By the way, see the mountain in the back? The hills of that mountain would have an amazing view of Leblon, Ipanema and the ocean. But can you go there? No, because it's the favelas (slums!) It actually lights up at night.
Leblon beach begins where the chanel at Jardim De Alah passes through going towards to the sea.
The chanel separates Leblon from Ipanema.
Sao Conrado,located at Gavea,better know as Praia Do Pepino,is the landing area for the city's hang gliders.
Barra Da Tijuca is Rio's longest beach,strechting along Sernambetiba Avenue,and the favourite among the Cariocas.
One of the favourite spots is the area around the "Barraca Do Pepe",a famous Brazilian hang glider who died in a competition outside
Brazil!!(there is a famous song about Pepe,written by Caetano Veloso,and in 2 versions,one sing by Baby Consuelo,and one sing by Caetano himself,the name of the song is "Menino Do Rio", written when he was the famous and most handsome guy in Rio's beaches!!).
His kiosk is famous for its natural sandwiches!I can't go to the beach without stoping there to have my "sanduba".
Leblon and Ipanema for the Arts.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and nearby cafes and theatre houses for the perfect weekend!
Centro is a must for the historical bit! The picture is from the outside of the National Gallery of Fine Arts, one of the best in town!