Ipanema and the neighbouring Leblon are the most wealthy neighbourhoods of Rio and really do feel like New York with great shopping, bars and cafes/restaurants. Lappa and Santa Teresa are on the other hand the poorer run down neighbourhoods next to some of the more dangerous Favella’s.
Lappa is where all true Rio nightlife takes place with locals from every social economic group of which there are only really two in Rio, and tourist alike join for huge street parties full of samba and caparinhas. Given that all the favella gangs also come down to party it can be dangerous at times, particularly at night so you don’t take anything of value with you, hence the lack of pics at night; I have included a clip from you tube though to see.
We got used to caring everything in plastic bags so that we didn’t look too much of an obvious target! Whilst we could at least attempt to be a tourist in incognito from afar that couldn’t be said for us up close at the bars! We had a classic gringos moment at a local bar when we ordered some food which came with a shot and a whole peeled orange.
Given that most waiters in Brazil are just rude and unhelpful we still to this day don’t know what we were supposed to do with this, thankfully we are close enough with each other to feel comfortable taking alternate swigs and big chunks out of the orange as if it was a tequila, which it was clearly not intended to have been.
Santa Teresa which is set on a hill, is the more bohemian area and (whilst surrounded by favella) is safer at night with a mainly upper middle class Berlin types, and is often likened to Montmartre in Paris ten years ago. Full of huge art deco mansions of the 1920’s supper rich which have now been overtaken by musicians etc, it also has a famous yellow tram that goes up and down the hill and so it did remind me a little of San Francisco.
The tram was closed due to a fatal incident earlier this year where the brakes failed and the tram went plummeting down the hill killing 5 people in the process, a tragic reflection of how they have let this neighbourhood lose the shine and modernism it once had which ironically is now its main draw for the hipsters of the 21st century.