Half of our time in Rio de Janeiro we stayed in Santa Teresa. At first it seemed a bit dangerous and messy, but we ended up loving it! Colourful, vibrant and a little bohemian – it’s definitely a must visit while in Rio. Here our some of our favourite places in Santa Teresa.
Go to Cultivar cafe at Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno and get an espresso (often spelled as expresso), açaí bowl and some cheese balls. Açaí is a very Brazilian dish, and it’s delicious (at least after first few spoons). It is quite sweet due to the berries being mixed with Guarana. Cheese balls, or Pão de queijo (cheese bread) is another must try in Brazil, not even mentioning the famous Brazilian coffee! The cafe is small and doesn’t offer a lot of seating, but you can always take your açaí to go.
Explore the hills of Santa Teresa – street art, iconic views of the city, Santa Teresa Tram line and a myriad of small shops. In 2011 there was a big accident when Santa Teresa Tram ran off its rails, killing 6 people and injuring over 50. Today you can find several murals commemorating the tragedy; this one, dedicated to a driver, is my personal favourite.
Get local food in one of the street cafes. There’s plenty of food options around Santa Teresa – choose your own and you will get a chance to practice your Portuguese!
Go to Escadaria Selarón and take pictures on the stairs. The famous stairs are a tribute of Chilean artist, Jorge Selarón, to Brazilian people. However, you can find tiles from all over the world! I found 3 tiles with Tallinn – can you find them? I never knew that red roofs of Tallinn Old Town will fit so well with Rio. Let us know if you find your city or country tile at the Selarón stairs.
If you have a little extra left in your budget, go to Aprazivel restaurant at R. Aprazivel, 62. The prices are a bit high, but at the same time you get amazing Santa Teresa hill view and some very good food. The chicken and rice casserole was fantastic: who knew we can get surprised by a chicken and rice combination after living in Asia? I must say that service is also very friendly and professional. The place itself is not just a plain squared restaurant, but a combination of various seating in a very interesting style.
We hope you will enjoy your time in Santa Teresa – if you have any other tips to share, feel free to comment!