Leblon is connected to Ipanema and the only real difference is that it isn’t quite as cool and it’s even wealthier. Far be it for us to suggest there’s a connection. Leblon is the home of the petit bourgeoisie of Rio de Janeiro and the dress sense and attitudes are all expensive.
There’s some nightlife here with a selection of pricey bars, clubs and cafes around the ‘Leblon triangle’ found where Dias Ferreira and Ataufo Paiva meet. The Leblon beach is quieter than along at Ipanema and at sunsets there’s often capoeira practice in the nearby park.
Behind Leblon is Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela, so big that they even have McDonald’s. There are tour operators who drive you through in a jeep and explain how the favela works. It’s all a bit sanitized for tourism though and the truth is the military police still enter here regularly to shoot young black men.
On Mondays there’s segunda sem ley, (Monday without law) in Gavea, a bohemian gathering which is no longer the wild street party it was but still the best option at the beginning of the week. Otherwise the best thing to do in Gavea is climb the famous Pedra de Gavea, the granite rock that rises 842 metres. You have some of the best views of Rio from here but you should go with someone who knows the safe routes up there as people die climbing the Gavea rock every year. Not one to do with a hangover.