A picturesque town on a hill with beautifully winding and narrow roads lined with trees, impressive older mansions and gorgeous views is what you will find when you visit Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro.
It is definitely a stop to make if you would like to get more of the flavour of Rio. Santa Teresa is located in the centre of Rio and was built around the Santa Teresa Convent, as the area developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century it became home to the wealthy. Evidence of this wealth can still be seen by the various mansions that are dispersed throughout the area.
Over the decades the district started to depreciate and many of the wealthy moved out. What you will find now when visiting is not an upper-class community with perfectly manicured lawns, but a more hippie and vintage feeling neighbourhood. Earlier the town may have had dazzling looks, but now has character and personality which can be much more interesting.
Because of all the hills, you need to be prepared to walk when visiting Santa Teresa. There is a 'Bonde', the name given for a rather famous tram, that was used to take people around the neighbourhood but this tram has not been working for the past couple of years. It has been projected to be replaced with a new one though, so if you are planning your trip for the next coming months you may be in luck.
Besides looking at old homes you will find that there are a few museums to visit in the area, as well as a good selection of restaurants and bars. The restaurants are quaint but be prepared to pay big prices, well more than the average good restaurants in Rio. What the town has become most known for over the years is the artistic flare. Many artists have moved into the area and as a result more art studios and galleries are popping up. If you have an eye for art then you will definitely enjoy popping into the galleries in the area.
There is a lookout deck where you can enjoy good views of the town below and of the beautiful surrounding mountains. This little town on the hill is well worth the visit.
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How to get to Santa Teresa by Metro
Santa Teresa covers an area that includes the the hillside to the southwest of Cinelandia Station. Exit the station and make your way southwest along Rua do Passeio then go left onto Av. Mem de Sa. Look for the elevated aquaduct ahead that runs toward the hillside. That is where the old Santa Teresa tram used to operate.
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