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Santa Teresa (Bairro Santa Teresa)
Santa Teresa (Bairro Santa Teresa)

Santa Teresa (Bairro Santa Teresa)

Rua Aurea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The basics

Santa Teresa is one of only a few neighborhoods in Rio that’s retained its colonial charm. The neighborhood can be a bit difficult to navigate, especially for first-timers, so it’s a good idea to visit with a guide.

Walking tours of the barrio typically provide a more intimate glimpse into the area’s belle époque mansions, art studios, and street art. These tours almost always stop at Ruins Park for views over the city, as well as the colorful Selarón Staircase, where Pharrel Williams and Snoop Dogg filmed a music video.

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Things to know before you go

  • Thanks to its rich history, colorful architecture, and art scene, Santa Teresa is a must-visit Rio de Janeiro attraction.
  • Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, as many of the streets are cobblestone.
  • An abundance of steps means that Santa Teresa is difficult to explore for travelers with reduced mobility.
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How to get there

By taxi, Santa Teresa is five minutes from downtown Rio and 15 minutes from Ipanema and Copacabana. The best way to get to the neighborhood is to ride the bonde, a historic streetcar, from Centro to Largo do Guimarães.

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When to get there

If you can time your visit to June or July, you might overlap with a weekend arts festival called Arte de Portas Abertas, which features live music, jazz performances, art, and food stands held in the open air.

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Selarón Steps

One of the most recognizable symbols of Santa Teresa is the colorful ceramic steps, created by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón between 1990 and 2013. The 125-step staircase features mosaics in the colors of the Brazilian flag, which comprise 2,000 tiles sourced from more than 60 different countries. The steps are one of the most-photographed attractions in the entire city.

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