Things to do in
Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

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Our most recommended things to do in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Rio Culture and History through the Art of Traditional Foods

1. Rio Culture and History through the Art of Traditional Foods

Join a delicious guided food tour in Rio de Janeiro's lively Santa Teresa and Lapa neighborhoods where you will visit unique local restaurants and specialty shops and sample different foods and beverages, including cachaça. Enjoy foods that contain some of the most important elements found in traditional Brazilian cuisine like açai, tapioca, and manioc flour.  Hop on a charming tram ride going over the Lapa Arches aqueduct, and passing by Ruinas Park to marvel at panoramic views of the city as you make your way from downtown to Santa Teresa. Taste local beer, as well as delicious cachaça on your route, and learn about the culture and history of Rio de Janeiro and the family traditions behind each food locales you visit. Your local guide will answer any questions you might have.

Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

2. Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

Begin your tour at Downtown (“Centro”), where you will get the tram (“bondinho”) to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. You will drive over the Arcos da Lapa, the aqueduct used to connect water from Santa Teresa to Downtown and one of Rio’s most traditional postcards. At Santa Teresa, you will experience an interesting local atmosphere. Walk through the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a bucolic area in Rio de Janeiro. Located on a hillside, Santa Teresa has become a district of cultural interest because of its architectural value and prime location, famous for its winding, narrow cobblestone streets and a favourite spot for artists and tourists. A flair similar to Montmartre, in Paris. You will visit the Ruins Park, a public park with an art gallery built around the ruins of a mansion. (Please note that Ruins Park is closed on Sundays.) Take a minute to enjoy the city’s landscape, in particular the Downtown area and the Sugarloaf Mountain. Up next, you will walk down the colorful Selarón Steps, one of Rio’s landmarks, and arrive at the district of Lapa, the zone with the most traditional nightlife. Take a stroll in the Passeio Público, the oldest public park in South America, to reach Cinelândia, a lively spot in Rio thanks to its bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Among many remarkable constructions in the area, you will notice the Theatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro’s most traditional theatre and opera house, as well as the Biblioteca Nacional, Brazil’s most important library. Your last stop will be at Confeitaria Colombo, a permanent member of all must-see cafés rankings around the world. Enjoy the opulent art nouveau decoration with huge stained glass, tiles, and mirrors imported from France, Portugal, and Belgium. You can finish your tour tasting one of the Brazilian traditional snacks – such as the coxinha de frango (‘little chicken thigh’) – or desserts – such as the brigadeiro (‘brigadier’) in what was one of Rio de Janeiro’s most prestigious places at the beginning of the 20th Century. (Please note that Confeitaria Colombo is closed on Sundays.)

Rio de Janeiro: Christ Redeemer, Santa Teresa & Sugarloaf

3. Rio de Janeiro: Christ Redeemer, Santa Teresa & Sugarloaf

Explore the best of what Rio de Janeiro has to offer on a guided sunset tour. See the World famous Christ the Redeemer, visit Santa Teresa, Escadaria Selarón, and take in sunset views of the city from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Begin your tour with a visit to Corcovado Mountain. After a 25-minute drive to the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue through the Tijuca Forest, take in the enchanting views of the city and surrounding countryside. Continue towards the Santa Teresa neighborhood where you will see its charming streets and its history by sight. Right after that, visit the famous Escadaria Selarón, before heading to Sugarloaf Mountain for the sunset. Board a cable car and head to the Morro da Urca station before continuing to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. From there, marvel at the fantastic panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro. Watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world while admiring Copacabana Beach from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Wonders of Rio: Christ, Selaron Steps, and Tijuca Forest

4. Wonders of Rio: Christ, Selaron Steps, and Tijuca Forest

This specially designed 7-hour tour around the city of Rio de Janeiro provides a unique chance to see the attractions of Rio de Janeiro with a professional English speaking tour guide showing you all around. The day tour starts with pick-up at your hotel or hostel in Rio. Your first stop will be at São Conrado beach where the hang gliders land after their take off from Pedra Bonita. You will enjoy amazing views of the high mountains on the blue coast of the ocean. From there, you will visit the Tijuca National Park and get a glimpse of the greenest tropical rainforest. This is the best spot to check how nature and the urban area can coexist, while seeing waterfalls, tropical plants and the wildlife.  After that, stop for lunch in Ipanema, and then hit the road again, this time to visit the Christ The Redeemer. Remember to bring your camera for the breathtaking photos of this memorable day. After the visit to the Christ, have a stop in Santa Teresa. This is one of the most traditional neighborhoods of Rio. It still retains much of its original architecture and character of previous colonial years. At the end of your Rio day tour, see the Escadaria Selaron or secret Lapa steps where Snoop Dogg shot his famous video for ‘Beautiful’ with Pharrell Williams. Finally, you will be offered the option to be dropped off at Sugarloaf Mountain in time for enjoying the sunset or to be dropped off back in your hotel or hostel.

Rio de Janeiro: Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain

5. Rio de Janeiro: Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain

Start with pickup from your hotel in southern Rio and meet your guide, who will provide more information about the sites you will visit. Begin the tour with a visit to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. Experience breathtaking views of the city from the top of Corcovado Hill. Pass the historic and cultural neighborhood of Santa Teresa, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from Mirante dos Prazeres. Learn more about how the Art Deco-style Christ the Redeemer statue was first opened to the public in 1931. From its base, enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the Tijuca Forest, Sugarloaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay, and the city's most stunning beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema. After visiting one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World, continue the tour with a ride on the cable car to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Enjoy the journey on the most famous cable car in Brazil where you can enjoy more fantastic views of the entire city. Afterward, be returned to your hotel.

Rio de Janeiro: Historic Rio and Santa Teresa Half-Day Tour

6. Rio de Janeiro: Historic Rio and Santa Teresa Half-Day Tour

Following pickup from your accommodation, head to the historic center of Rio de Janeiro. Consisting of centuries-old buildings and roads, the historic center of Rio best illustrates the most important chapters of Brazil’s history.  See the contrast of new and old architecture at XV de Novembro Square. Continue to Cinelândia Square until you reach the famous Carioca Aqueduct (Arcos de Lapa) in Lapa. Admire the historic beauty as you continue to Santa Teresa by car. Enjoy the winding narrow streets and colorful buildings of bohemian Santa Teresa, famous for its bars, galleries, ateliers, and the 19th-century Santa Teresa tram. From the top of Santa Teresa Hill, enjoy some of Rio’s finest views and look across Guanabara Bay.  Take in the panoramic views of the city from the Parque das Ruínas, located in the ruins of an old mansion belonging to Laurinda Santos. The mansion has been partially restored and is now used as a cultural center hosting various exhibitions and events.

Rio: Christ the Redeemer & Selarón Steps Half-Day Tour

7. Rio: Christ the Redeemer & Selarón Steps Half-Day Tour

Meet your group at the meeting point in Copacabana. Start your half-day and drive up to the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado Mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Journey through a short and beautiful route through Tijuca Forest, one of the largest urban forests in the world, before enjoying the incredible views of the entire city. When reaching the top of the mountain, visit the most famous tourist attraction in Brazil and get a panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro, 710 meters above sea level. Return from Christ the Redeemer and drive past Santa Teresa, the famous neighborhood located on a hillside known for its narrow cobblestone streets, unique cultural flair, and iconic yellow tram. Arrive at the neighborhood of Lapa, a hot spot of Rio’s nightlife and known for the Carioca Aqueduct, before visiting the brightly colored tiles of the world-famous Selarón Steps. Take some photos at one of Rio's most distinctive landmarks. This landmark was created when Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón began renovating the dilapidated steps that ran along the front of his house. This now-iconic site has featured in many famous magazines, newspapers, travel shows, documentaries, and commercials.

Corcovado, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Selarón Steps 6-Hour Tour

8. Corcovado, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Selarón Steps 6-Hour Tour

Discover the best of Rio de Janeiro on a 6-hour guided tour of Corcovado, Selarón Steps, and Sugar Loaf Mountain and see it all! Following a pick-up from your hotel, transfer to Corcovado Mountain through the Tijuca Rainforest. Ascend to the summit to see the 38-meter (128-foot) tall statue of Christ the Redeemer. Enjoy spectacular views of Rio and its surrounding countryside. Then, travel back downhill to take a tour of the bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood. Admire its charming architecture and go to the famous Selarón Steps made in ceramic by the artist Jorge Selarón. After that, head to the Sugar Loaf Mountain taking a ride through the charming neighborhood of Urca to take the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf in two stages. The first cable car takes you to Urca Hill, from where you will get beautiful views of Guanabara Bay, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. Continue to the summit for unrivaled views of Copacabana, Santa Cruz Fortress and the beaches of Niterói.

Rio de Janeiro: Sacro, Bucolic, and Handicrafts Market Tour

9. Rio de Janeiro: Sacro, Bucolic, and Handicrafts Market Tour

The São Bento Monastery was built in 1671 by the Benedictine Order. The monastery church is gorgeous and rich and its interior is covered in gold powered. Every Sunday the Benedictine monks present the traditional Mass in a Gregorian chant at 10:00 sharp. Santa Teresa, a bucolic district on a hillside, is known for its crocked houses, steep streets and tile decorated stairways, Rio’s bohemian neighborhood. Rio’s Santa Teresa tram (when available), has been preserved both as a piece of history and as a quick, fun, cheap way of getting to one of the most quirky parts of town. The Hippie fair has become a mandatory touristic visit. There the visitors will find bronze and wood sculptures, oil paintings, silver objects, hand-painted porcelains, fabrics, leather clothes, shoes, handbags, several souvenirs and typical Brazilian food and handicraft of all kinds. This 4-hour tour operates on Sundays and it includes hotel pickup and drop off. A minimum of 2 people per booking is required.

Rio de Janeiro: Private Main Attractions City Tour

10. Rio de Janeiro: Private Main Attractions City Tour

Visit some of the most popular attractions in Rio de Janeiro on a day tour. See the Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Corcovado Mountain, ride the cable car at Sugarloaf Mountain, and more. Get picked up from your Rio hotel and drive up to the Christ the Redeemer statue. Take in this famous monument, snap some pictures, and enjoy the views before returning to sea level. Check out the brightly colored tiles of the world-famous Selarón Steps, one of Rio's most distinctive landmarks. Go up Sugarloaf Mountain using a series of cable cars and reach a height of 1,295 feet (395 m). Finish off your tour with panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro before getting dropped back off at your hotel.

Frequently asked questions about Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

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What people are saying about Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 860 reviews

Ederson is a wonderful guide. I highly recommend him! He sure knows his stuff - very informative about Cristo and Sugar Loaf Mountain and other sights along the way. He knew the best vantage points for photos and videos; took me around on a personal tour. Friendly, helpful and good conversation on the way there and back. I absolutely loved this tour and will be coming back again soon to view at sunrise.

Emerson is a fantastic guide. He goes above and beyond what’s expected and makes you feel at home. Ederson is very informative, friendly, outgoing, patient and interesting. A lot of local knowledge about brasil, rio, religion, politics and community. Fantastic character. Thank you ederson for an amazing time.

Juan was an excellent guide. He really knew the history and fun facts about every place we went to. Really friendly, made the tour fun! If you want to see the main spots in Rio but dont want to worry about transportation and know more about the story behind places this your is for you!

What can we say, Ederson was a great tour guide, very knowledgeable and accomodating. He spoke very well and took us around the various sites to get a better experience, fully recommend if you want to visit Rio and the main tourist attractions. Many thanks again :)

It was a truly amazing experience. The guide was very knowledgeable and paid personal attention to everyone The itinerary was well planned and it is the most efficient way to see all the highlights in one day