ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 21 (4 OF 5) – LAPA AND SANTA TERESA, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Famous for its music and nightlife, a visit to Lapa is a must for Rio visitors.  We started at Praca Cardeal Camara, a large public square dominated by the 64m-high Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Aqueduct).  This former aqueduct was used to carry the famous Bonde trams up to the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, until the recent closure of the tramline due to an accident.  The tram tracks remain and buses now replace the trams to bring people up to the hills of Santa Teresa.  We took a local bus up to Largo do Guimaraes in Santa Teresa.  We then followed the tram tracks and found our way back down to Lapa.  Along the way, we saw many colourful street art, and passed by many magnificent but rather rundown mansions.  We could also hear occasionally music from unknown places.  Overlooking the Centro (downtown) and the adjacent favelas, we had a good overview of the contrasts of the marvelous Rio.

After the walk, we could understand why Santa Teresa has become a hip spot in the city that attracts artists, artisans, design shops and and bohemian cafes.  In fact, Santa Teresa and Lapa were once wealthy neighborhoods, but were neglected over decades until recent years.  In order to appreciate Santa Teresa and Lapa, one must overcome the preconceived insecurity due to the surrounding favelas, and take precautions on not intruding seedy side streets.  A visit of Lapa and Santa Teresa presented us a contrasting urban picture of Rio, uniquely distinct from the postcard images of beaches and hills.  We could see great potentials of Rio awaiting for efforts of revitalization.

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Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought

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