Things to do in
Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

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

Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

1. 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. 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.

From Rio de Janeiro: Shuttle to/from Abraão on Ilha Grande

2. From Rio de Janeiro: Shuttle to/from Abraão on Ilha Grande

Enjoy a convenient shared transfer to Angra dos Reis from your accommodation or the airports in Rio de Janeiro. Get transferred to a flex boat that takes you the final stretch to Abraão on Ilha Grande in only 40 minutes. Choose a transfer in either or both directions according to your needs.   The service from Rio to Ilha Grande runs 365 days a year. Departure available from Rio de Janeiro South Zone Hotels (Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Leblon, Centro, Lapa and Ipanema), as well as from Galeão International Airport-GIG or Santos Dumont Airport-SDU. You will be taken to the Santa Luzia Pier in Angra dos Reis, and by flex boat to Abraão Village in Ilha Grande.  The service from Ilha Grande to Rio also runs 365 days a year, from Abraão Village to Santa Luzia Pier in Angra dos Reis. There, a local driver will be waiting for you to take you to Rio. Drop-off is possible at Rio de Janeiro South Zone Hotels, as well as Galeão International Airport-GIG or Santos Dumont Airport-SDU

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

3. 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

4. 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.

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

5. 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 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 wildlife. After that, stop for lunch in Ipanema, and then hit the road again, this time to visit Christ The Redeemer. Remember to bring your camera for the breathtaking photos of this memorable day. At the end of your Rio day tour, see the Escadaria Selarón 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 at your hotel or hostel.

Rio de Janeiro: Private Full-Day Highlights Tour

6. Rio de Janeiro: Private Full-Day Highlights Tour

Discover the highlights of Rio de Janeiro on our exclusive 7-hour private tour, accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide and chauffeured in a private vehicle by a professional driver. Immerse yourself in the city's finest attractions, beginning with a picturesque train journey through a lush rainforest, culminating at the summit of the mountain with an awe-inspiring view of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Our route then winds through the enchanting bohemian quarters of Santa Teresa and the bustling Lapa District. Here, you'll marvel at the quaint old aqueduct and explore the vibrant, 215-step masterpiece known as the Selaron Steps. Continuing our exploration, we'll delve into the historic city center. Take a step inside the architectural marvel of the Metropolitan Cathedral and treat yourself to a visit to the renowned Colombo bakery, a cherished institution since 1894. Indulge in its storied past and delectable offerings - Colombo bakery closed Sundays, replaced by local farmers market. The grand finale awaits—a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. At the pinnacle, relish in the breathtaking panoramic vista of Rio and its stunning environs. This is an experience of a lifetime.

Rio de Janeiro Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

7. Rio de Janeiro Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

Avoid the crowds with an early morning visit to Corcovado Hill and see the Christ the Redeemer statue before the masses arrive! Drive alongside Botafogo beach en route to the monument, passing the official residence of the state governor at the Palácio Guanabara along the way. Admire the manor houses of the old coffee barons in the upscale districts of Laranjeiras and Cosme Velho. Arrive at Tijuca Forest and stop at Paineiras to board the vehicles of the National Park Authority. Ascend to the top of Corcovado Hill for a 45-minute visit and some of the best views of the city. In the event of poor visibility on the summit, an alternative stop will be made at the Mirante Dona Marta (362 meters). Descend Corcovado Hill and head towards Sugarloaf Mountain, passing the Brazilian Empire relics of Largo do Boticário and Casa dos Abacaxis. Head back along Botafogo beach towards Praia Vermelha in the district of Urca, admiring the neo-classical buildings of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Institute Benjamin Constant for the blind and the National Institute for Mineral Resources. Arrive at the Sugarloaf Mountain cable car station and climb aboard the first cable car to go into service in South America. Ride up Urca Hill (200 meters) and continue to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain (395 meters) to enjoy about 30 minutes at the top. Next, enjoy lunch in an Ipanema restaurant. There will be many different meal options at your disposal, so choose anything from Brazilian steakhouse fare or a light sandwich. You can also use the time to explore the Ipanema district. After lunch, visit the Maracanã Stadium, where the 1950 World Cup was held just after it opened. Discover the main arena of Rio Carnival at the Sambadrome. Journey along Avenida Presidente Vargas to see downtown landmarks such as the Central Railway Station, Duque de Caxias Palace, Itamaraty Palace and Campo de Santana. Continue along Avenida Passos to Praça Tiradentes, and admire the Carioca Aqueduct (Arcos da Lapa) that carries the trams from the city center to the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Travel down one of Rio's oldest streets on Rua do Lavradio, and then see the modern buildings of Avenida República do Chile. Go to the cone-shaped Metropolitan Cathedral to marvel at a masterpiece of modern architecture. Next, visit the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa and see the Escadaria Selarón, where the vibrant green, yellow and blue colors of the staircase match the Brazilian flag. Enjoy a moment of peace at São Bento Monastery before traveling along Aterro do Flamengo to the admire the Museum of Modern Art, the Monument to the Brazilian Soldiers of World War II and the tiny church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro. Pass the beaches of Flamengo and Botafogo before a drop off at your original starting point.

Christ the Redeemer and Escadaria Selarón Half-Day Tour

8. Christ the Redeemer and Escadaria Selarón Half-Day Tour

Explore some of Rio de Janeiro's top sights with this fantastic guided tour. After being picked up from your hotel by your driver/ guide, you will set off for your first stop at Rio's infamous Christ the Redeemer statue. On your journey up Corcovado Mountain, you will pass through dense Tijuca rainforest to the 38-meter tall Christ the Redeemer statue. From the top, enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Rio and the surrounding countryside. After descending back down the mountain, you will take a pleasant drive through the charming Santa Teresa neighborhood, where old Rio comes alive! Admire its stunning street art as you make your way to the amazing Selaron Steps. Decorated in ceramics artist Jorge Selarón, these steps are truly are one of a kind. Following your exploration of Rio, sit back and relax as your driver transfers you back to your hotel. Or, if you choose an option with a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain included, you'll then travel all the way to the top in 2 steps by cable car. At 395 meters, enjoy splendid views of Copacabana beach, the Santa Cruz fortress, and several beaches of Niterói. Enjoy this magnificent scenery for about 45 minutes until you head back down to catch the van which will bring you back to your hotel.

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

9. 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: Christ Redeemer, Selaron steps & Sugarloaf

10. Rio de Janeiro: Christ Redeemer, Selaron steps & 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.

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What people are saying about Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

(1,104 reviews)

Ederson was absolutely amazing and our private tour with him was surely the highlight of our trip to Rio. Ederson was punctual picking us up from the hotel and really created a customized tour based on things we wanted to see, plus some of his own recommendations. He took nearly 400 photos of us during the tour and they came out amazing. Not only is he a guide but he is also a great photographer who knows how to use the sunlight to his advantage and even went as far as wiping the phone camera lens in between each mini photo shoot to ensure the pictures were as clear as possible. I can’t recommend him enough. If knowledge, timeliness and great pictures are important to you, take one of his tours. We had a lot of fun with him and learned plenty of facts about Rio along the way.

The trip was delayed due to traffic conditions, however they kept me well informed, which I found very positive. We ended up with a privat trip because we were the only ones. Driver was very good and safe. It is a bit expensive but you arrive safe and everything is arranged , drive and ferry.

This tour was absolutely fantastic - we enjoyed every minute! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and his translation skills between Portuguese, Spanish and English were brilliant. The added extras like stopping for cheese bread at a local store made the tour even better! 100% recommend!

The activity was very good and very complete, Ricardo was an exceptional guide who made the tour very enjoyable and explained everything perfectly in both English and Spanish.

A great trip - and our guide, Kikko, was fantastic.