Wheelchair accessibility around Rio’s Neighborhoods
Wheelchair accessibility in the city varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, but definitely the ones in the South Zone of the city are better. They are flat, have plenty of accessible transportation and it’s where you will find the best sidewalks around town.
Leblon / Ipanema:
This is where fashionable shops, great restaurants, bars and one of the most expensive square meters of Rio are. With the recent inauguration of the fully accessible subway line 4, it has become even better. Ipanema beach is the most popular beach in Rio and there you can find several hotels, but expect to pay a lot more than you would pay in Copacabana. On one of the edges of Leblon is the region called “Baixo Leblon”, full of restaurants and bars that stay open until late hours.
Accessibility: along with Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema are the most accessible neighborhoods of Rio. Totally flat, they have the best sidewalks and easy access by subway. Shops and restaurants generally have worse accessibility than in Copacabana.
Lagoa / Jardim Botânico:
The view of Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is one of the most beautiful in Rio, and the Jardim Botânico neighborhood has a very special climate, as well as excellent restaurants. Jardim Botânico means Botanical Garden, and it’s one of my favourite places in Rio. There’s a 7.8Km bike/walking route around the lagoon, mostly flat, with kiosks selling food and drinks. There you’ll find lots of locals running, biking and skating. You’ll have some trouble to find a hotel in these neighborhoods, because there aren’t many.
Accessibility: worse than in other neighborhoods, because there is no subway and the sidewalks often do not have ramps.
Copacabana / Leme:
Copacabana is probably the most diverse neighborhood in Rio, home for every kind of people you’ll find in the city.There is a very large offer of services, restaurants, shops and hotels. Hotels tend to be great value for money and as there are many elderly residents, the shops and restaurants are usually have at least a wheelchair accessible entrance. There are also accessible subway stations and buses that can take you to the tourist attractions.
Accessibility: very good public transport, ok sidewalks and many affordable places to stay or eat..
Botafogo / Flamengo:
Although both districts do not have good beaches for sun bathing/swimming, they have very good transportation and services. Here you’ll find lots of pubs, restaurants and locals. Hotels are cheaper than the ones in Copacabana / Leme and it’s a great neighborhood to enjoy some beer or rock music.
Accessibility: good public transportation and ok sidewalks.
Barra da Tijuca:
It is not in the South Zone of Rio, but in the West Zone. It is a far neighborhood, in a new region of the city. There are not many tourist attractions and I would not recommend you to stay in this neighborhood unless you come to a specific event like Rock in Rio, which is close to Barra da Tijuca.
Accessibility: very bad on the streets (loooong walking distances, high speed traffic etc) and very good in shops/restaurants.