The bonde is the last of the historic streetcars that once crisscrossed the city. Its romantic clatter through the cobbled streets is the archetypal sound of bohemian Santa Teresa. Currently the bonde travels every 15 to 20 minutes from the cable-car station in Centro over the scenic Arcos da Lapa and as far as Largo do Guimarães in the heart of Santa Teresa.

After a tragic accident in 2011 the bonde was taken out of commission while much-needed improvements to the track were made. After more than four years the line reopened – but now it only travels 1.7km of its 10km of track. Although work on further sections of the track has been promised, the project's estimated cost (around R$100 million) makes it unlikely that the bonde will continue beyond Largo do Guimarães any time soon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santa Teresa & Lapa attractions

1. Largo do Guimarães

0.01 MILES

The plaza named after Joaquim Fonseca Guimarães (a local resident whose house became Hotel Santa Teresa, just up the road) now forms the center of…

2. Casa de Benjamin Constant

0.21 MILES

This tranquil estate served as the residence of one of Brazil's most influential politicians in the founding of the young republic. Benjamin Constant …

3. Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo

0.21 MILES

Built in 1907, this large mansion once served as a salon for artists from Brazil and abroad and as the location of parties hosted by socialite Laurinda…

4. Museu Chácara do Céu


The former mansion of art patron and industrialist Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya contains a small but diverse array of modern art, formerly Ottoni's…

5. Retrato Espaço Cultural

0.31 MILES

Opened by a photographer in 2017, this new cultural space features a dynamic lineup of still-image and videography exhibitions, film screenings,…

6. Parque das Ruínas

0.32 MILES

This park contains the ruins – exterior brick walls and a newly built staircase – of the mansion belonging to Brazilian heiress Laurinda Santos Lobo. Her…

7. Largo das Neves

0.52 MILES

A slice of village life in the city, this small plaza is one of Santa Teresa's most picturesque little squares. While Largo das Neves is empty by day, on…

8. Escadaria Selarón

0.59 MILES

One of Rio's best-loved attractions, the steps leading up from Joaquim Silva became a work of art when Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón decided to cover…