Hiding in the hills above the energetic Lapa, the winding roads of the Santa Teresa district are a great destination for those looking to spend time away from Rio’s beaches. Its collection of cafes, art shops and eclectic restaurants mean that it’s oft touted bohemian reputation is well earned.
Unfortunately the Santa Teresa is not currently accessible by what was the jewel in its crown, the picturesque ‘bonde’ or tramline, after an accident that occurred eighteen months ago.
Nonetheless it’s still easy to access the neighborhood, and the best way is to take one of the small buses that leave from Avenida Gomes Freire in Lapa.
In stark contrast to many of the Zona Sul (South Zone) flashy boutiques and chic shopping malls, Santa Teresa is also characterized by a litany of small arty stores that dot the neighborhood. There’s also the hip looking and newly re-opened cinema, Cine Santa Teresa, which shows both Brazilian international independent films.
The district saw the number of visitors dwindle following the bonde accident, however things seems to be once again to be on the upswing. Its intriguing blend of disheveled looking colonial mansions and cosmopolitan atmosphere mean that the district is also attracting more long term visitors.
The Selarón stairway is one of the really nice sights in Rio.
It's located in Santa Teresa and is a stairway with hundreds of teils on it in all different colors and with different motives.
The artist who made it has had artists from around the world cntributing to the stairway and it has become a real spectacle to watch.
This is a very funky sight that attracts lot's of bohemian souls especially in the evening where you have good social scene on the stairway.
Jorge Selaron who created it unfortunately died in january 2013 but his work of art is still there and the place still retains a good vibe.
We found out that the 'Bonindho' or tram (trolley-car) up Santa Teresa is no longer running as of about August 2011. There was a crash that killed five people.
Santa Teresa is still a very nice and interesting visit though.
We took the Carioca tour with BRazil Expediton. Was a very good experience. their guides are well educated and well informed.
I must say during the tour we went to Santa Teresa. Not a big fan of visiting this place by myself. Looked a bit wierd and also not many people on the streets. I suggest visiting in a taxi or tour bus and not by yourself. I heard from one of my friends who had here purse snatched here
Santa Teresa is the old part of Rio and a very scenic part of town.
It´s a hilly part of town with narrow streets and old buildings.
It used to be quite unsafe, but has in recent years become much safer and you should not miss out on this very nice part of Rio.
The place has a really nice bohemian vibe that i just love.
One funny note about the place is that the great british train robber Ronald Biggs lived in Santa Teresa for most of his life after he fled Britain and at one point had weekly BBQ´s open to the public.
Santa Teresa is one of the oldest parts of Rio and one of the most bohemian too.
It has a really good atmosphere and is popular with young people, artists and intellectuals.
The place is so damn scenic that it will surely become popular with the wealthier people soon, so go there before the prices go up and the place becomes a dull upper class neighbourhood.
The great train robber Ronald Bigs lived in Santa Teresa for many years by the way when he was on the run from the british police.
Santa Teresa is a hilltop neighbourhood now in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. The district is located on a hill called Morro de Desterro and takes its name after the 18th century Convento de Santa Teresa, the oldest structure in the neighbourhood. Santa Teresa is connected to the city by the tram on top of the Arcos de Lapa, which was installed in 1896. With the tram, the neighbourhood flourished resulting in an influx of inhabitants and the construction of numerous luxury houses and buildings in first half of the 20th century. Over the years, the Santa Teresa has attracted a community of artists and intellectuals. Much of this architecture and the character of the neighbourhood have been preserved.
Now...in Santa Tereza...The bondinho, you can take it close to the street Senador Dantas in Downtown at Cinelandia or Largo da Carioca Area, close to the Cathedral and the PETROBRAS building.
You will have a ride crossing the acqueduct...ARCOS DA LAPA...the views are gorgeous and you have a great idea about OLD RIO and its bohemian secrets speccially in LAPA.
Once in Santa Tereza...get off at LARGO DOS GUIMARAES..it is a little and charning square where you will find very traditional bars for a real brazilian snacks such as BAR DO ARNALDO and BAR DO MINEIRO.
If you keep on following the BONDINHO TRACKS..pay attention in a grocery store called MONTREAL, the street in front of it will take you up to APRAZIVEL Street, this is where you will find lovely residential houses all in portuguese style!
Also, try to find another Largo called LARGO DAS NEVES...LOVELY BARS THERE!!!
Santa Tereza is for sure one of the most charming districts of Rio.
Riding the 'bonindho' or tram (trolley-car) up Santa Teresa is a fun and cheap experience. Cheaper, if you just hang on to the side of the tram because those at the side do not need to pay the R0.60 fare.
The station is found near the conical Main Cathedral called Candelária.
The tram passes through the high-arched former aqueducts over Lapa region ('Arcos de Lapa') and you get a fantastic view of Rio de Janeiro from up here, if you are sitting or hanging by the side.
Then, the tram meanders up the Santa Teresa hill, passing pretty and lovely colonial houses. It is difficult to decide when to get off. Often, people say the area further up is the 'favela' area and hence, considered dangerous.
Well, personally, I recommend you take the tram up til the final stop where it stops and prepares to make an about-turn. Beyond this stop is indeed the start of the 'favela', but I guess if you are game for it, trudge on more to the top of the hill where there is a cultural centre for kids to the left.
Not only can you perhaps catch some kids enthusiastically practising dances or doing some art-works, you will get more amazing view of Rio de Janeiro's 'favelas' up at the courtyard of the centre.
Thereafter, take your time and meander down by following the tram-tracks, chatting with the friendly residents and hopping back on the tram when you are ready.
Santa Teresa is a really nice colonial neightbourhood in the top Rio.
Here you´ll be able to imagin how it use to be 100 years ago.
I would recomend to have dinner here and taste the tipical Brazilian food in one of my fauvorite neightbourhoods of the city. Some of the restaurants even have jaazy live music.
If some afternoon in Rio, you find yourself under a veil of clouds and the beach has lost interest, head up to Santa Teresa. It's a neat neighborhood built up in a hilly area that offers great views of the city. Getting there is half the fun as a trolley line from Centro at Carioca Station winds its way upwards and clear of the city. The fare at the station in the city is .6 Reals paid to a ticket agent at a window. On the return trip, the fare is paid to the conductor. The trolleys are actually the original equipment from the time the tramway began in the late 1800's. Once up top, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops offering local art and some more touristy items. It's definitely worth the time to visit Santa Teresa.
Spending some hours in the afternoon in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Tereza can be a great idea, in the houses you can see some local art crafts, and most of them you can take home with good prices too, the hosues are very old and the streets full of trees, and from each corner you discover a different landscape of Rio!
Santa Tereza is a must in your trip to Rio, I would suggest you to go there with someone who really knows the place so he or she can tell you where to go and where you do not have to go;)
Getting lost in some areas can be a risk!
But the whole neighborhood is interesting and you should never miss this place!;)
FOOD THERE IS WONDERFUL