Our school, Caminhos Language Centre, is located in one of the most traditional neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul (south region): Ipanema. Besides being one of the most famous neighborhoods of Rio, it is also between other famous and interesting neighborhoods – Leblon, Copacabana and Lagoa.
Of course Ipanema is well known throughout the world, if not for its beach, for the “The Girl from Ipanema” song, having other versions sung by many singers in the world, even in English. But if you want to know a little more about the history of this noble neighborhood in Rio, come with us!
During the colonization of Brazil, Ipanema was nothing more than a coastal paradise frequented by indian people who lived there. José Antonio Moreira, Earl of Ipanema, owned a farm in the region and in 1894 founded Villa Ipanema, which would be subdivided and officially become one of Rio’s boroughs. Planning on selling plots of land, the Earl built streets and town squares, attracting people to this part of Rio.
In the early twentieth century, when the development of the city of Rio de Janeiro was leaving its center and moving southward, neighborhoods like Flamengo, Copacabana and our dear Ipanema began to be more occupied by people. In 1902, the first streetcar line was built in Ipanema, facilitating its urbanization. After that, the growth of the neighborhood did not stop.
In the ’60s, with the growth of the density of the neighborhood, houses began to be replaced by buildings and that was when Ipanema began to take shape as one of the noblest and most expensive addresses to live in Rio de Janeiro.
Today, Ipanema has a population of over 40,000 inhabitants and more than 20,000 households spread between its area of 308 hectares. Its beach is 2.6 kilometers long and is connected at one end by Arpoador Beach up until you reach Leblon Beach.
Ipanema beach is a gathering spot for many groups, who choose certain parts of the beach as their main meeting point. In Ipanema’s white sand you find sporty people playing volleyball and futevôlei (footvolley), the gay community meeting near the rainbow flags stuck along the shore, surfers who rather stay at Arpoador, celebrities at Posto 9, among many others groups scattered throughout the beach.
It was on this beach that great names of Brazilian music used to meet up in the ’60s, just like Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, who wrote “The Girl from Ipanema” together. Inspired by Helo Pinheiro – an Ipanema resident who always passed by them wearing a bikini on the beachfront – Tom and Vinicius wrote the famous song in 1962, when Helo was only 17.
Ipanema’s sights are a charm of its own. Arpoador beach serves the people with the most beautiful sunset of Rio de Janeiro; the Girl from Ipanema Park boarders Ipanema and Copacabana and offers sport and playground space and lots of trees for a well-deserved shadow on sunny days; the Church of Our Lady of Peace, recently renovated, show us all the wealth of the colonial era; and of course, the view of the Morro dos Irmãos, one of the postcards of Rio.
Nowadays Ipanema is an upper-middle-class neighborhood, surrounded by theaters, restaurants, bars and hotels, the right choice for tourists who wish to come to Rio de Janeiro. Its beach is crowded on sunny weekends and its sidewalk is a great place to walk at night, meet new people, make friends and have fun as a true carioca.
Ipanema is home to Caminhos Language Centre since 2009. We are blessed to be located in the middle of so much goodness. Be part of our family, learn Portuguese as a true carioca and enjoy all the beauty of Ipanema. Learn more about our courses and activities at caminhoslanguages.com.