São Conrado – Hang gliding paradise
São Conrado is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Rio. Its natural beauty combined with excellent infrastructure makes it one of the most appealing areas. This neighborhood has a lot to offer the discerning traveler. Hang gliding is one of the specialties of the area. Get on a flight with a professional and enjoy the spectacular views. Pedra da Gávea dominates majority of the skyline of São Conrado and Pedra Bonita is the perfect place to appreciate the view. You can also see Copacabana, Ipanema, Guanabara Bay, Barra and the surrounding areas. Golf lovers will certainly enjoy the vast expanses of the Gávea Golf Club. The private streets are lined with posh mansions and condominiums for the affluent. It also has a fashion mall for the shopaholics with world famous labels and quality restaurants proving to be a shopper’s paradise. Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro’s is also located here and is a popular tourist attraction.
São Conrado lies about 10 minutes away from Leblon. The tunnel that goes through the twin hills Morro Dois Irmãos leads to São Conrado. Av. Niemeyer is another route you can take to reach this neighborhood.
Pedra da Gávea
Pedra da Gávea resembles a crow’s nest on a ship, from which it derives its name. It is a legendary mountain range associated with Rio since 1502. It was mentioned on the travel log of Captain Gaspar de Lemos, the commander of the first Portuguese fleet to visit Rio. This mountain range has a mysterious reputation, as stories claim that Phoenician inscriptions, which date back to time immemorial, can be found here.
For those who do not relish climbing Pedra da Gavea, Pedra Bonita is an alternative option, which is an overlook point and a perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can reach this point by going up Estrada das Canoas. This point is also the take off point for hang gliders. For a bird’s eye view of the region, take time off to enjoy one of these flights. There are cameras attached to the gliders, so you can take home memories of this unforgettable experience.
São Conrado Beach
Sao Conrado Beach is one of the most scenic spots in the city. Hotel Nacional, located near the beach, was the most glamorous spot in town. After the group that owned it went bankrupt, it was shut down. With it, even Pepino Beach lost most of its former glory. An ongoing project to divert rainwater to the sewage pies is underway and once it is finished Pepino beach is hoped to regain its former status.
São Conrado Fashion Mall
The well-heeled and fashion-conscious in Rio all head to São Conrado Fashion Mall. The mall is home to over 150 stores and a food court that is rated the best in town. There are a number of high-end restaurants at the mall so you can head straight to the food court after a day of shopping.