With a scent of the suburbs, the draw here is the array of lavish houses, many of which come with striking sea-views and flourishes of tropical gardens, offering enhanced space, security and privacy. Here, you’ll find a long golden beach far emptier than Ipanema, making it great for walks or morning runs, although strong currents and sometimes murky waters make it too rough for swimming. Clustered into enclaves, of which private condominium Joa is arguably the loveliest, telenovela stars live next to former presidents and international entrepreneurs borrow sugar from neighbouring football greats (or so we like to imagine). While there are some decent kiosks along the beach and a handful of good restaurants and shops in São Conrado Fashion Mall, most of the fun happens in private bashes. Failing one of those, everyone decamps to Leblon, only 15 minutes drive away. Dotted around, many of the listings are driving rather than walking distance, so it’s best to either hire a car, a driver, or get your uber account ready.
The jewel of this patch is Joatinga, a golden half moon bay set within that neighbourhood of Joa. A stand-out favourite with surfers and tattooed models, it’s here that Rio’s celebs go to hit the sand off-duty. Rules don’t apply here, so friendly dogs roam free and clouds of pot catch the sea-breeze. It’s a steep (yet stunning) climb down the rocks to get to the sand, so it’s worth going for more than a few hours. Take a look at the tides before you go, high-tide can mean the sand gets swallowed by the surf.
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