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Where to live and commute to Barra (Rio de Janeiro)

My husband and I are moving to Rio with 1 & 3 yr old kids. What areas could we look at that are safe, lively, Brazilian (as opposed to just expats), and easy access to the beach? We're really would prefer not to be in a gated community, but we will need access to preschools. Is this asking too much? We are in Rio at the end of August to do a recce trip and move beginning of October, so we'd like to have a vague idea of where to look. He will be working in Barra & would prefer a maximum 45 min commute. All information gratefully received!

Rio de Janeiro Forum