Bairro de Santa Teresa is a picturesque, hilltop neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro that formed around the Santa Teresa Convent, built in 1750 (hence the neighborhood’s name). During the peak of Brazil’s coffee days in the 19th century and Rio’s subsequent building boom, wealthy Cariocas built mansions on the Santa Teresa hillsides. Although the opulent homes of Bairro de Santa Teresa eventually fell into disrepair, a bohemian crowd of musicians, writers and artists began moving in during the 1960’s and the neighborhood morphed into a colorful and edgy destination with bars, restaurants, cafes, shops and art galleries. The bonde, a yellow electric tram, once ran through the neighborhood, connecting it to the lower town. Construction is currently underway to fix the tracks and hopefully the tram will be running again in 2015. You can walk to Bairro de Santa Teresa from Lapa if you are wearing decent walking shoes and don’t mind a bit of a workout. Climb the Selarón Steps all the way to the top, then turn left and continue up the steep hill. When you reach the top of the hill turn right and keep walking past the old tram station. Santa Teresa’s charm will pull you in. You’ll encounter fabulous and fun graffiti and murals along the way. Try Espirito Santa for lunch and enjoy their creative and not so typical fare (http://www.espiritosanta.com.br/#). Chill outside on their terrace and enjoy the view and scampering marmosets.
Samba de Quarta-feira by Pedro Moraes