If Copacabana is the Times Square of Rio, then Santa Teresa is the Village (if not Williamsburg). We had a fun night out here, and on my next trip to Rio (my Visa is good for 10 years!), I’d definitely choose to stay in this neighborhood.
But first, a leisurely morning. We did actually go to the beach and use the pool while in Rio, but only under the safety of umbrellas. I honestly don’t know how people just laid out without any protection from the sun!
Later that evening, Ryan, our new friend Gemma, and I headed to Santa Teresa to meet our Ilha Grande friends (Karolina, Nadia, Kim, and Laco) for dinner. We took the subway, which was entirely uneventful and easy to navigate, to Cinelandia and planned to take the tram-car the rest of the way, so we could enjoy the scenic views of the Santa Teresa hills. Just one problem: the tram-car station was closed! We thought it was strange, so we just kept walking. After a while we realized why the tram-car wasn’t running; the entire line was being excavated for renovations! I’m not sure how they will get all of that work done before the World Cup, but all I can tell you was that it definitely wasn’t functioning as of early January (tick tock). Now, Gemma and I had gone through the trouble of blow-drying our hair and wearing dresses, which was for nought, because it was quite humid out, and we essentially speed-walked our way up the winding Santa-Teresa hills. A bit sweaty, and sporting frizzy hair, we eventually arrived at our destination.
First stop, Largo do Guimares, a plaza surrounded by quaint restaurants and bars. We had a few rounds here to wait for our friends, and to cool off a bit.
Once our friends arrived, they took us to Bar dos Descasados, which was just stunning inside and out. A little blurry because they were taken on my iPhone, which makes no sense given that I had my camera, but at least you get the idea. We had a pre-dinner cocktail here, all trying different types of Caipirinhas. When in Rio!
Then we headed to Rustico for dinner. This was a restaurant that Stef, Daniel and Jason had raved about the day before; they were supposed to join us, but had an early morning flight to Quito, to begin their Machu Picchu adventures. Coincidentally, we ended up at the same place, which we didn’t realize until we saw the menus – worked out well! We were all deliriously hungry at this point, and ordered a table full of pizzas. I got the mushroom and garlic, and let me say that it was awesome (and this is coming from an NYC pizza aficionado!). If you find yourself in Santa Teresa, I highly recommend it!
But the best part, of course, is the company you’re with. It was really great to reconnect with our friends from Ilha Grande and have another fun night in Brazil. For me, this is what makes travel special!