One of our day explorations in Rio was a trip to Santa Teresa, a neighbourhood at the top of Santa Teresa hill that is famous for its winding, narrow streets and colourful graffiti.
To get there, we took the Santa Teresa Tram which connects Rio’s city centre with the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, part of which goes over the Lapa viaduct. This tram is mainly maintained as a tourist attraction, is one of the oldest street railway lines in the world and the oldest electrical railway in Latin America.
The tram opened in 1877 and ran continuously until 2011, when the service was suspended following a serious accident. The tram re-opened in July 2015 following a number of renovations and safety updates, and when we visited in November 2015 the tram was still undergoing testing and a limited timetable. Which means we got to enjoy the ride for free!
But don’t worry, if the tram isn’t open when you visit the walk to Santa Teresa isn’t too bad. Especially if you visit the Esadaria Selarón in Lapa first, because Santa Teresa is only about a fifteen minute walk away – if you don’t mind climbing all the steps!
And if you do walk up, all you have to do is follow the tram tracks and you won’t get lost.
However you get up there, it’s pretty cool to look out over the rooftops of the city centre!
And the street art, of course.
This is painted on the outside of the tram station in Santa Teresa – many of the other stops are along the road without built stations.
I love that the middle one kind of reminds me of the Genie from Disney’s Aladdin.
This one was one of my favourites because the characters look like they’re interacting with and reacting to each other, and it feels like if I stick around long enough something else will happen and I’ll know why they’ve got the expressions that they do.
This intricate street art is a representation of a favela.
I just love this woman’s look; so bold, so beautiful.
These guys made me smile!
Pretty much everywhere you look there’s some colourful street art to see.
Including on the ground! I see you there…
How cool is this dinosaur street art designed with mosaic to look like fossils?
Not surprisingly, some of the street art seemed more like cultural commentary.
Besides the street art, there were also lots of posters plastered around, many of which said ‘I love you’ and ‘More love please’.
I’m not sure what the significance is with those phrases in this area, but I love the intention!
I love you too, Rio.
Mais amor por favor = more love please.
Along the narrow sidewalks, for a short distance, were a series of mosaic chili peppers in the cement.
But of course, street art and posters aren’t the only colourful aspects of Santa Teresa – there’s also loads of tiling!
Which is dotted all over the place along walls, door frames, everything.
And while I urge you to wander, explore and enjoy the beauty of Santa Teresa, don’t forget that people live here!
So be sure not to block the roads or pavement, smile and be courteous. 😉