Rio: my fav 4 neighbourhoods & Accommodation

Brazil: simply reminiscing Post 4 of 10 

A guide to my prefered neighbourhoods & accommodation in Rio

Favela Cartegalo  – Catete & Gloria – Lagoa-  – Santa Tereza

I stayed in many diffrenent neighbourhoods during my  time in Rio, in hope of  gaining a  better understanding of how the city operates, and to experience the multiple ways in which daily life is lived in Rio. Of all the areas of which i  stayed in these four areas are by far my favorites.

4.Cantagalo Favelas, is located between and above the upscale neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema.  This favela

View From boxing gym , Canto Galo Favela

View From boxing gym , Canto Galo Favela

received a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) in December 2009. Since then, Cantagalo has been attracting visitors from Brazil and abroad. Cantagalo, is ideally located  to offer some of the best views of the city.

I actually spent quite a bit of time in this favela. My  first visit was on my second day in Rio, when accompanying my friend to his boxingP1040448  training session, in a gym up there. As i grew up in boxing gym ( my farther is a boxing  Coach) I was very curious but at the same time a little nervous. I had no idea what to expect! I mean all I knew about favela  life, at this point , was  learnt from the movie City Of God…and come on, who really wanted to be that kind of enviroment..not me!!!

…..We had to take an elevator to reach the favela. The Evelvator  ( pictured above) conects the world above to the world below, without it you have to walk – once up there it felt like a movie set,  the tiny alleyways, the make shift house one on top of the other, it was all very surreal. What really blows my mind is the architecture and the way it wraps around the hills side like forming an additional layer and has now become a beautiful addition to the landscape. ——After a few visits i began to realise that to be honest it was like any other small town. Everyone knows everyone, you can find the essential shops, bars & cafes and of course playgrounds- well primarly football pictches. After a while we made quite a few friends and slowly were  becoming apart of this community.


3.Catecte & Gloria -Glória was  formerly the home base for Brazil’s head of government. Now these near-Centro neighbourhoods are home to many shops, cafes, leafy residential streets and colourful colonial buildings representative of a by gone era characterise Catete.


I spent a few weeks living in this area over the new years and christmas period of 2012/13. Untill this time I had never been to this area, only passed through it on the bus a few times.  But, due to the shocking accmmodation price rise at this time of year, the only affordable hostel i could find happen to be here. To my suprise Catete & Gloria is the place i felt most normal (unlike a tourist) just living where normal people live and are getting on with their day to day. If i lived in Rio this is most likely where i would live 🙂 its  busy but not touristy  and has everything you need such high street shops, supermarkets, cafes &  restaurants, markets, beacutiful parks, and great transport links.  Both catete & Gloria  are within walking distance of  the Downtown area, santa tereza and have 3 tube staions so you can get to almost anywhere in the city within 20mins …saweet!

Hostel I stayed in &  recommendHostel Republica –  is in need of updating , mainly in the dorms however, it is cheap and location wise it’s perfect! walking distance to , Flamengo and  down town areas, and you have 3 metro stations. So,basically you can get to anywhere inf the city from here in less than 20 mins.



Lagoa - Long Lagoa is an affluent residential neighborhood in Rio,  located around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. The Lagoon and surrounding landscape is breathtaking, but its the activitie taking place around the lagoon that i admire most about area Lagoa is a hub for sports and home to a rowing club stadium (Estádio de Remo da Lagoa), A dog racing track, football pitches and my fav the paved biking / jogging path  that surrounds the entire lagoon. Here you will find people all day of all ages working out – from the young to the VERY old! as well as families out biking or skateboarding together.

 Beside the sports this area is just a breath of fresh air!

Hostel i can recommendLagoa Guest house – is a places where I really enjoyed my stay. The staff are great and the atmosphere is quite chilled and relaxed.  It feels quite homey, more like a house share than a hostel. This hostel seemed to attract Brazilian residents & ex pats and the older traveler (25 plus) , who are staying long term. The only real downfall is the poor transport links:( there are many buses you can get but ummm the daily evening traffic . I walked almost every day down to Ipanema Beach, It took me about 45 mins! the walk is so lovely though so I didn’t mind:)


1. SANTA TERESA most def my fav spot n the city and is located iimages (1)n the hills above Rio’s city centre. Famous for its narrow and winding streets,  Bohemian Vibe, and a favored spot for local artists and tourists alike!  Santa Teresa isn’t a place that I would actually like to live in but it is a place I live to escape to ….it feels like a different world up there……

Gallery below: Exploring Santa Teresa

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First Impression, dont always count! 

…..Having heard so much about this magnificent bohemian hill top town, I decided to head for the hills within my first few days in Rio. To be honest though I did enjoyed my afternoon walking through the streets, admiring the street art and beautiful delapertating mansions,  all in all I wasn’t that impressed. I left having no real desire to return and totally baffled as to why people kept insisting I go there. It wasnt untill about 5 weeks later when  I fell ill and decided to I would best recover in a hotel. So I left my hostel in Lagoa, and fled to hill of Santa Teresa, wher ei checked into a nice boutique hotel to relax and recooperate. For 3 days I stayed within the confines of this lovely retreat  – Quinta Azul -…..Highly  recomended! Great service, lovely rooms and great facilities. the perfect hideaway.

….once I had recovered I started to venture out and explore beyond the retreat walls and slowly Santa T’s  hidden secrets began to reveal itself to me a day at a time.

Extract from journal

In order to truly appreciate Santa Teresa, I think I had to be staying here, to see it  in all its forms, whether it be sun set, sunrise, on a friday evening on a Tuesday afternoon on a random night out …..only through these experiences I have began to love this place and from this point on it has become my primary base and/or escape place for the rest of my time in Rio…

To fully appreciate the Santa Teresa of today you need to know its past.


The Essence of Santa Tersea

The very essence of Santa Teresa can been found in its history and todays ongoing story….Each layer of history plays a key part in Santa Teresa ever changing image , crowd drawing and majestic air:)

History – The neighborhood originated around the Santa Teresa Convent, built-in the 1750s on the Desterrohill. At the end of the 19th and early 20th century it was an upper class borough. The rich industrialist built magnificent mansions, many of which are still standing. 

Santa Teresa fell into neglect, when Rio’s favelas spread onto the nearby hillsides and crime drove the wealthy to southern neighbourhoods far from the city centre.

The Favelas

The Favelas

It wasnt until the 1960s and 70s, that the area began to thrive again. This is when artists, writers and musicians moved into the run down area, restoring some of the depalerating houses and breathing new life into the neighbourhood. They opened studios and hosted creative events  that gave the district its reputation as a vibrant, but still edgy, bohemian arts district.

Santa Teresa Today

The Santa TSANTA TEREZA 1eresa of today I would say is less artisy and more Off beat and unique.  Each layer of its past still remains a prominent and key part of the neighbourhoods energy  and has been not forgotten as the  area continues to evolve.

Today the revitalization continues, many of  the restored mansions are now homes to the working and middle class, or have been converted in to hostels, boutique hotels and restaurants.

a good example of this is my fav hostel in all Rio, Bossa  Hostel This beautifully restored mansion now contains great dorms and even better private rooms, the staff are very helpful and friendly and the room are super clean  & modern. But, the best thing this hostel has to offer is the free break fast!! full of variety !

Things to do and see in Santa Teresa – Post comming soon 🙂


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