The South Zone of Rio de Janeiro at a glance
The South Zone of Rio de Janeiro (Portuguese: Zona Sul) is composed of several districts, among which are Sao Conrado, Leblon, Ipanema, Arpoador, Copacabana, and Leme, which compose Rio's famous Atlantic beach coastline. Other districts in the South Zone are Gloria, Catete, Flamengo, Botafogo, and Urca, which border Guanabara Bay and Santa Teresa, Cosme Velho, Laranjeiras, Humaita, Lagoa, Jardim Botanico, and Gavea.
It is the richest region of the city and the most famous overseas, and the neighborhood of Leblon in particular has the most expensive real estate in all of South America.
The neighbourhood of Copacabana beach hosts one of the world's most spectacular New Year's Eve parties ("Reveillon"), as more than two million revelers crowd onto the sands to watch the fireworks display. As of 2001, the fireworks have been launched from boats, to improve the safety of the event. To the north of Leme, and at the entrance to Guanabara Bay, is the district of Urca and the Sugarloaf Mountain ('Pao de Acucar'), whose name describes the famous mountain rising out of the sea. The summit can be reached via a two-stage cable car trip from Praia Vermelha, with the intermediate stop on Morro da Urca. It offers views second only to Corcovado mountain.
Hang gliding is a popular activity on the Pedra Bonita (literally, "Beautiful Rock"). After a short flight, gliders land on the Praia do Pepino (Pepino, or "cucumber", Beach) in Sao Conrado.
Since 1961, the Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca), the largest city-surrounded urban forest and the second largest urban forest in the world, has been a National Park. The largest urban forest in the world is the Floresta da Pedra Branca (White Rock Forest), which is also located in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio (Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro or PUC-Rio), Brazil's top private university, is located at the edge of the forest, in the Gavea district. The 1984 film Blame It on Rio was filmed nearby, with the rental house used by the story's characters sitting at the edge of the forest on a mountain overlooking the famous beaches. - wikipedia