Barra da Tijuca is Rio’s western suburb, made of glitzy towers, gated communities, shopping malls and heavy traffic. It is easy to reach Barra from Galeão International Airport via the Yellow Line but to access the rest of the city, especially the Centro, things get complicated. To explore this area you will need a car, or a taxi. If you happen to ride to Zona Sul, ask the driver to take you via the beautiful and scenic Avenida Niemeyer all the way to Leblon.
This is Brazil’s version of Miami, the area to where the upper middle classes have fled. You will stay there if you are in town for a concert at the HSBC Arena or a meeting at RioCentro Convention Center. Many of the events during the Rio 2016 Games will also be held in the neighborhood.
One of the city’s most luxurious malls is nearby, the Shopping Village Mall, as well as the the city’s biggest one, Barra Shopping. As for hotels, consider staying at the Grand Mercure RioCentro, the Grand Hyatt or the Hilton Barra.