A stroll through the best places to visit in Rio
“Overlooking the bustling and compact downtown area, the hill of Santa Teresa sits in the centre of it all, making it one of the best places to visit in Rio.”~Context Travel
Santa Theresa, an artistic hilltop hotspot along meandering streets offers visitors a cultural array of history, galleries, and restaurants. Atop Santa Teresa Hill it renders an astounding view over the the city, and is one of the few towns that has resisted development to retain its colonial charm.
Overlooking the bustling and compact downtown area, the hill of Santa Teresa sits in the centre of it all, making it one of the best places to visit in Rio. The grand era of the 20’s might seem long gone with only its decaying mansions as nostalgic reminder, however, the artistic energy of the area never left. Today it’s undergoing an exciting resurgence with new art spaces, inventive restaurants and music venues. This three-hour walk weaves through the history and vibrant contemporary life of the hill of Santa Teresa and its eclectic sister neighbourhood Lapa.
The neighbourhood of Lapa, known as the origin of bohemian Rio is also publicised for its architecture, starting with the Arcos – known as the Arcos da Lapa, now serving as a signal for the cable cars that climb the hill of Santa Teresa.
The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and culture that makes these cultural capitals amazing.
20th Century Artistic Renaissance
They will start your walk at the former house of Benjamin Constant, referred to as “the first house of the Republic.” Here they will learn about the shift of upper society into the area which spurred a shift in Brazilian politics. You will then work your way up the hill, learning about the development of the area and seeing some impressive Art Deco mansions and gardens. You’ll also discuss the artistic scene in the area, both then and now, possibly stopping in at an art studio or for a chat with a resident poet. Your walk will bring you by the current hub of Santa Teresa with some up-and-coming restaurants and popular bars. You’ll pass the station and explain the history of the beloved tram Bondinho, currently under renovation and running only limited stops. You will reach Parque das Ruinas which features the remains of famous socialite Laurinda Santos Lobo’s home, a once-popular meeting point for the city’s artists and intellectuals, now a cultural centre and one of the best views of downtown.
The Beats and Birth of Samba
You’ll spend the remainder of your time having a look at Lapa, just below Santa Teresa. The famous Arcos da Lapa aqueduct acts as gateway into this network of lively streets. The area took up from Santa’s Teresa artistic heritage in the 1950’s and became the heart of Rio’s music scene, in particular samba. You’ll see this as you end your walk with a glimpse at some of the street art and spirited bars, many with live music and today’s generation of artistic Cariocas.
To schedule a walking tour contact Context Travel
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Tracy Burrows164 Posts
If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel platform for both cost effective and luxury travel ideas around the world. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the LatestSightings.com blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona. Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. Thank you for joining our journey!