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Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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up to 24 hours in advance
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icon4 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
Guides required to regularly wash hands
Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
More questions?
(888) 651-9785


Explore one of Rio's oldest neighborhoods, Santa Teresa, on this guided sightseeing tour. With a small group of 12 people or fewer, walk down cobblestone streets among the district's interesting architecture. Admire sprawling views of greater Rio de Janeiro, climb the Selarón Staircase, explore the Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park), and walk through Guimarães Square where local shops, studios, and restaurants abound.
  • Small-group tour of Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro
  • Enjoy stunning views of Rio de Janiero from the top of Santa Teresa
  • Learn about one of Rio's oldest neighborhoods from your local guide
  • Visit Ruins Parks and the Selarón Staircase
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Local guide
Round trip subway ticket
Tram ride fare
Cheese bread tasting
Av. Atlântica, 1702 - Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22021-001, Brazil

Departure Time

9:00 AM

Departure Time

9:00 AM

Return Details

Praça Floriano - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-050, Brazil
Meet your guide at a central meeting point, then hop on the subway with your guide to travel to Santa Teresa the way the locals do. Stroll through Carioca Square, one of Rio's main sources of drinking water, then explore the financial district on foot with engaging commentary from your guide. Hop on a tram (the only one in Rio) or bus for the ride up to the top of the hill where Santa Teresa sits.

This neighborhood is one of Rio's oldest, lined with cobblestone streets and interesting buildings. Learn about the history and culture of the area from your guide as you wind through the narrow lanes and alleyways. Admire the 18th- and 19th-century buildings that were once home to the city’s elite but now house art galleries, restaurants, and bars. Set on a hill, the neighborhood offers great views—visit Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park) for photo opportunities of downtown and Guanabara Bay.

Walk past the neighborhood convent, and then check out Selarón’s Staircase (Escadaria Selarón), a set of 250 steps covered in tiles from all over the world. They were created in the 1990s by artist Jorge Selarón and have been featured in all kinds of productions, from an episode of The Amazing Race to a Snoop Dogg video.

After an engaging tour, return to your departure point.
Stop At:  
Cinelandia Square: we'll see the Municipal Theater, House of Representatives, Fine Arts Museum and the National Library
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Parque das Ruinas
Park of the Ruins: This place was a former socialite house that was turned into a public cultural center. The rooftop has stunning views over downtown area and its current architecture mixes old and modern structures.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Largo dos Guimaraes
Largo dos Guimarães​: this is the main square in Santa where we'll see most of the local shops, restaurants and studios
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Escadaria Selaron
Lapa Arches and Selaron Staircase: we'll see the former acqueduct that nowadays is the bridge for the old tram connecting Downtown Rio to Santa Teresa neighborhood. We'll also see the masterpiece of Jorge Selaron. A 23-year work of a staircase completely covered by tiles from all over the world. One of Rio's oldest neighbourhoods, Santa Teresa, situated high on a hill overlooking Rio, enchants locals and visitors alike with its cobbled streets and eclectic architectural styles. The views of the city centre and the bay aren't too shabby either. (Okay, they're stunning, but that's hardly a surprise...we're in Rio, after all!).
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 6 years
  • Maximum group size is 12 people
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Urban Adventures - Latin America

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on sanitization during Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps?
The policy on sanitization is:

  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps.
What is the social distancing policy during Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps?
The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps.
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps?
The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps.
What is the maximum group size during Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps?
This activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Best of Rio: Secrets of Santa Teresa and Lapa Steps.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips

  • "I felt safe with the company of our Tour Guide, highly recommended if it's your first time in Rio !" See review


163 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 163 reviews
No communication
, Mar 2021
Received an email with complete itinerary and meeting point and no one showed up. Waited half an hour with multiple calls and emails and no response.
Very Responsive Guide
, Dec 2019
Cassio, our guide, lives in the area as he has for many years. He took us all around Santa Theresa giving us great information as well as being very attuned to our questions.
A Lovely Day
Stacey P
, Oct 2019
It was a holiday when we went so the tram was running on a different schedule and Alexandra was able to quickly adjust the itinerary. She was very knowledgeable about the Santa Teresa neighborhood and took us to a few little shops that only had products made in Brazil for some one of a kind gifts to bring back with us.
Walking tour
, Aug 2019
It was an amazing experience,,Renata was so helpful and informative..she explains very well all the places we went.the history, the best restaurant in town,where to go,its a really good one,highly recomended.
Excellent morning
, Jul 2019
I ended up being the only one on the tour that day, but props to Lola for giving an excellent tour for just one person. Started off with a nice walk around Cinelandia and Carioca squares, then took the Bonde to Santa Teresa. Enjoyed going in some local shops, chatting a bit with the residents, and generally the peaceful atmosphere with the beautiful views. Lola speaks excellent English and is willing and able to answer questions about everything on the tour. Really enjoyed it! Thanks Lola!
Undeserving of a star
, May 2019
We waited under the heat of the sun in front of the Copacabana Palace for more than an hour, called several times, no response. We decided to leave. We want our money back
Great experience!
, May 2019
The tour guide Juliana (5 stars) was very informative with her knowledge of Brazil and attentive to any questions any our small group had. Be prepared for walking and soaking up the history. I'm glad I took this tour it was a great experience.
Disappointing - not as advertised :-(
, Apr 2019
Although we enjoyed our tour this morning with Raphael the trip is not as advertised and neither Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas or Museu Chacara do Ceu were included as per the top two inclusions within the booking details on the Viator or urban adventures website. I did query this with Raphael however he said this wasn’t possible on this tour anymore as there wasn’t enough time and these places were closed on Tuesday anyway. I was very disappointed as this is not what we booked in terms of a complete experience. Could you advise how this can be resolved for us please? I did contact urban adventures directly several time however there was no response.
Excellent small group tour with great guide
Fiona B
, Mar 2019
Juliana was a terrific guide and we had a small group of 6 people. Going on the subway, tram and bus was wonderful as the subway is in a mountain and the tram on the aquaduct unique. A very personal way to see some sights. Highly recommended.
Well organized
, Jan 2019
The tour was well organized to see some different locations within Rio. Beaufitul view of Santa teresa by taking a tram and you get to try local food too! Rafael was very professional and he explained to us about each location and the story behind it. You get to walk like locals and learn about río!

Product code: 5207TERESA

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