Street art Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Our favorite hip & happening spots

16 March 2014
Photo credit: Street art Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro’s coolest spots and things to do!

With the FIFA World Cup coming to Brazil this year and the Olympic Games in 2016 you probably would like to know where to find the best places around Rio. Your Little Black Book listed the spots we liked most during our trip to this incredible metropolis in Brazil. Check out our hand-picked spots below!

Christo Redentor

Oh yes it’s busy up there. It’s very difficult to make a picture without some other tourists on it. But you really shouldn’t miss this one. The statue of Christo was a bit smaller than we expected, but the views were absolutely beautiful.

Sugar Loaf

Go there in the afternoon and stay until the sun is almost down. Again stunning views… It’s easy and very cheap to get there by bus.
Sugar loaf Rio de Janeiro Brazil


The sand, water or the beach bars are not special at all, it were the views that did it for us.

Which beach should you go?
We really liked Posto 9 (there are 12 postos) at the Ipanema area. It’s the best place to spot hunks and honeys in tiny bathing suits. On Sundays they close down the road so it’s all one “Parada de Tettas” perfect for people-watching.
Beach Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunset Beach Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


On Friday night everybody goes to the neighborhood Lapa. This is where it all goes down. It might start out slow, but don’t be surprised when a handsome brasileño grabs your hand to salsa. Go to one of the jazz clubs there to end your unforgettable night.
On the small square you can drink all the caipirinhas you can handle (or not). The amounts of cachaça are killing, so be prepared to feel a little bit shaky the day after…
Lapa Rio de Janeiro Brazilie

Best neighborhood: Santa Teresa

Absolutely the loveliest neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro is Santa Teresa. There’s cool street art and several nice bars and restaurants. The small cozy cobbled streets don’t look anything like the more famous Ipanema or Copacabana.

Must stay in Santa teresa:

Casa Cool Beans
A very beautiful B&B. These guys will make your stay so comfortable you’ll never want to leave.
Casa Cool Beans Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro
Incredibly nice people with awesome rooms. There’s also an art gallery downstairs. You might end up at an opening of an upcoming artist while you’re there…
Casalegre, Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro
The only disadvantage of staying in this neighborhood is that taxi’s don’t like driving up there because of the small stones. What we did was just get into the taxi and when it started driving tell the guy you want to go to Santa Teresa. If he complains about that, just stay in the car! During daytime you can take the old Volkswagen vans that drive up and down the neighborhood. Quite an experience (is there any air left in these tiers?) and so cheap.

Best Bars and Restaurants in Santa Teresa

Bar de Gomez
One of the oldest bars in Santa Teresa. Great vibe. Best caipirinhas.
Bar de Gomez, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Bar do Mineiro
This is where you eat the traditional dish; Feijoada. It’s bean stew with collard greens and lots of different meats. Order a small portion, because it’s very heavy on the stomach. Not the best meal I’ve ever eaten, but it’s always fun to try local foods. Come on time because on Sunday everybody eats out for lunch and this is a local’s favorite…
Bar do Mineiro, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Hip half rooftop bar. They serve good food as well. It’s just a super cozy spot where you can hang for a while.
Cafecito, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Escadario Selaron

These 250 colorful steps are just one nice big photo spot. Before the artist Jorge Selaron passed away in 2013 you could find him working on the stairs. People used to bring tiles from their home country as a gift to Jorge.
Escadaria Selaron Rio de Janeiro
Escadaria Selaron Rio de Janeiro

Hotspots in Ipanema

Zaza Bistro
Romantic 1000 and one nights restaurant in Ipanema. Food is delicious. Remember that upstairs you have to take your shoes off. So socks with holes could get a little uncomfortable.

Zaza Bistro,  Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Market Ipanema
Don’t overlook this cool place which is sort of hidden at the end of an alley on the famous shopping street Visconde de Pirajá.
Healthy food, with a daily changing menu.
Market Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Healthy snack

Besides drinking your daily agua de coco, you will also have your healthy moments in one of the many small fruit bars. Mix all kinds of fruit there for the best recovery juice. Could be handy if you know what the fruits mean… (it’s not like Spanish at all). We always took the ‘açai com granola’ (like twice a day). The chicken sandwiches were really good as well.

Favela tour

A Favela tour may sound touristic or scary, but no worries. We loved it and it’s completely safe. No ‘City of God’ scenes. Now you get to see how these favela’s look from the inside, how small the shops and streets are. We bought 2 colorful small paintings made by one of the local artists.
Favela tour Rio de Janeiro
Favela tour Rio de Janeiro
Views in and from favela Rio de Janeiro
Daily life favela Rio de Janeiro

Markets in Rio

On the many markets like for example the Hippie Fair or the antique market Feira do Rio Antigo you can find unique handmade stuff like sandals, jewelry and paintings.
And if you didn’t score the famous and sexy bikinis on the beach you can also buy them at most of these markets.

Rio is an amazing city. Just always look after your things; don’t go to the beach after sunset, don’t put your wallet in your back pocket, well, you know the drill… And this time leave your Rolex at home you show-off. ;-)

This is B.!

She loves to travel like a good YLBB correspondent should. And all she wants to is share the most beautiful and amesome places with anyone who’s up for it.

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