Rio’s hottest neighborhood: Spotlight on Santa Teresa

There’s more to Rio de Janeiro than the glittering beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana (not that we mind those). The city’s newest destination neighborhood is Santa Teresa which, from its perch in Rio’s lofty hills, offers unparalleled views of the incredible carioca panorama.

While the area’s once-iconic bonde tram system is no longer functioning, the trek up the hills is worth it. Santa Teresa offers a bit of laid-back Bohemia, an artistic vibe and architectural wonders – its cobbled streets and 19th century mansions make for incredible ambiance. Here, we take you through seven of the neighborhood’s can’t-miss spots.

Térèze Restaurant

Located in the exemplary Hotel Santa Teresa, which once occupied an old coffee plantation mansion, Térèze offers a romantic setting, incredible open-air views and a menu of upscale takes on Brazilian staples like Caldinho Feijão.

Bar do Gomez

A classic boteco (casual neighborhood bar), Bar do Gomez has been a Santa Teresa institution since 1919. Originally a grocery store, the bar still features shelves full of assorted bottles and products, and locals flock here for the chopp (Brazilian-style draft beer) and salgadinhos, or savory snacks.

Cine Santa Teresa

It’s no surprise that in bo-ho, artist-filled Santa Teresa, you’re liable to find a respectable independent theater. Though Cine Santa Teresa, located on Largo do Guimarães, only has one screen, its selection of art house and Brazilian films makes it an essential stop for culture vultures.

Espírito Santa

Specializing in Amazonian cuisine, Espírito Santa is situated in a 19th century building. Gorgeous setting aside, it’s the food that will hold your attention: From lumps of crab meat with plantain to freshly caught fish with coconut rice topped with ginger and tomato sauce, the plates are fantastically flavorful.

Museu da Chácara do Céu

This petite museum, built in 1876, boasts a collection of top-level works, including pieces by the likes of Picasso, Seurat, Degas, Modigliani and Miró. It also features an impressive collection of Brazilian art.

Largo das Neves

This fabulous square at the top of Santa Teresa is a bona fide neighborhood landmark. Though it’s scenic during the day, with plenty of benches for lounging, Largo das Neves really comes alive at night with crowds of locals and live musicians.


The tranquil and stylish Cafecito is the perfect place to soak up the Santa Teresa way of life. In addition to its excellent coffees and sandwiches, the cafe offers free Wi-Fi and stylishly appointed indoor and outdoor seating.

(Main image: Santa Teresa © Ptérodactyl Ivo)

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas

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