Saturday, June 4, 2011

Visiting Santa Teresa in Rio



Santa Teresa is one of those neighborhoods in Rio where you are transported back in time.  You can see the slowly gentrifying buildings and the expanding number of super cute restaurants and the unparalleled souvenir shops/galleries, but then an original wooden streetcar rattles by and you flash back to the 1950s.
The galleries and gift shops are the best in Rio - really.
Many of the buildings were very large single family homes when first built, larger than most residential buildings in the city, and with gardens. Beautiful. It is a ‘hidden’ Rio.

The jury is out as to whether most people feel safe staying in the many (and growing number of) cute pousadas in the neighborhood.  Certainly during the day all is fine, but at night people report being nervous on the streets and the occasional strong-arm robbery.  But then, this is Rio, these incidents are not confined to any one neighborhood. For me – I would go for it.

There are some incredible restaurants in this close knit, bohemian neighborhood, many with stellar reputations, views and artsy atmospheres.  This is a must. Go for lunch, go for dinner, and certainly go for a romantic meal when the occasion calls for it.

I had the pleasure of visiting Santa Teresa yesterday with Rachel. There could be no better company to wander through galleries, bicker with the shop owners who did not want their picturesque, antique Portuguese-tiled produce storefront photographed, or sip chopp from an elevated patio. Rachel is a stylish chameleon who morphs from confident, unyielding urban driver to chatty, philosophical observer of architecture, to pensive Rio resident contemplating the future of a waning jewel of a neighborhood. (Not to mention being a super mom.)
The Mineiro - a must for a drink.
We had a wonderful afternoon visiting Santa Teresa.  I highly recommend it (with or without Rachel).

Terrific archetectural detail at the entrance to this large home.

7 comments:

Jana @ Paper plains said...

I love this! Such a beautiful place, its one of the first rec. I give people when they go to Rio thanks to you!

bee and jay said...

We had the same problem with the same shop keeper! It is a stunning storefront- he must be in constant battle with the tourists!

We also had an amazing lunch, unfortunately can't remember the name of the restaurant.

We rode the Bondi back downtown & checked out the Arcos and the cathedral. Great memories & we will return!

gingerv said...

I love this area. we have friends that have lived up there for 20 years or so and have now bought a top of a hill and built a totally modern house.... did you go to the very top to the museum area.... that is wonderful to see. http://gingersflowers.blogspot.com/2008/09/more-about-things-to-do-in-rio.html

PepitaCarioca said...

This is the Rio I adore!
Your post and pictures are wonderful!

Ray and Gil said...

I love Santa Teresa, it truly is a hidden gem in Rio, I would love to live there.
How fun to be there with Rachel!!
I can't wait to visit Brazil again and have an opportunity to go to Rio.

Ray

Jim said...

Jana - you can't go wrong reccomending St. Teresa - it is wonderful

B-J isn't it funny? what's up with those folks? They have like four signs hanging in their store: DO NO TAKE PICTURES What's up with that? Thier place is so BEAUTIFUL! whatever...

Ginger - yes, we have gone to the top of the hill. The houses are beyond what people think for Rio houses.

Thanks Pepita --

Ray and Gil - is it enough to coax you to live in Rio? LOL!

Ray and Gil said...

Jim,

You had us at hello!!!! :)
Now we just need to find a job there and will be on our way!

Ray