CARNIVAL…Santa Teresa Style

The build up to Carnival is reaching a small frenzy; even with more than a week left before the BIG parades at the Sambodromo!  Last night here in Santa Teresa we had the Bloco das Carmelitas. Parading from the corner of Dias de Barros and Ladeira de Santa Teresa; down Dias de Barros, Alte. Alexandrino and Largo do Guimarães and of course ALWAYS ending up at Bar do Gomes-one block from Casa Cool Beans. (Photo below; Bar do Gomes on the left at around midnight February 25th.)  Then today beginning around 8am our Santa Teresa CARNIVAL party began (other photos below at around 9am February 26th; still Bar do Gomes on the left).  Everyone dressed up in fun party attire or just crazy costumes drinking beer so early in the morning?  Carnival has arrived!!! ***Take note of the Bonde (our little yellow tram) all dressed up for Carnival there in the middle of the crowd in the second and third photos***

C.L.A.S.S.I.C. Brazil (as blogged by Marcus & Jennifer, our guests at Casa Cool Beans)

We had the opportunity to host Marcus and Jennifer here at Casa Cool Beans for several nights in early February.  They are going around the world with no bags!!!  Crazy, but these guys seem to have gotten into the rhythm and are doing super with only the clothes on their backs!  Sponsored by Scottevest. travel clothing, anyone can try out for the next No Baggage Challenge.

But, enough about Scottevest and more about the adventures of Jennifer and Marcus here in Rio in their own words:

C.L.A.S.S.I.C. Rio

(C)opacabana beach
This huge, famous beach stretches for 2.5 miles down Atlantic Avenue. It’s a good place (but way too crowded on the weekends) to rent an umbrella and chair, soak up the sun, and drink an ice cold cerveja (beer)!

The center for Rio’s nightlife, Lapa gets insanely crowded as people flock to the bars and dance clubs. It is also home to the bright white arches of the aqueduct.

Best place in Rio to catch a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.

(S)ugarloaf Mountain
After taking two cable cars suspended super high in the air, you arrive at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Definitely try to be there for sunset as it provides a breathtaking view of Rio and Christ the Redeemer unlike any other and seeing the city lit up at night is surreal.

(S)anta Teresa
A quaint neighborhood with cobblestone roads up in the hills of Rio, Santa Teresa is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Rio. Taking the bonde (cable car) through the hills and visiting Selaron’s staircase are must-dos!

We stayed at an amazing bed-and-breakfast called Casa Cool Beans. From the fresh fruit juice at breakfast to the wonderful hospitality of the host, Lance, we didn’t want to leave! It’s a hidden oasis in Santa Teresa that people would have to be crazy not to love. Easily the best place we stayed in all of South America! Check them out at!

My cousin was in Rio for a couple nights and stayed at Casa da Gente. This bed-and-breakfast is located just around the corner from the Selaron Staircase. While it’s close enough to walk to Lapa and Centro, it provides an quiet escape from those noisy neighborhoods. Check them out at!

In preparation for Carnaval, blocos are held during the weekends in various neighborhoods for musical groups to rehearse. We went to one that started in Leblon and ended in Ipanema. An open-air double decker bus with the band on top inches down the street as people dance, celebrate, and drink beer nonstop.

(C)hrist the Redeemer
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Christ the Redeemer sits at the top of Corcovado Hill, overlooking all of Rio.

Samba City burns; Carnival goes on!

What a sickening site we saw from our sun terrace, just off the pool yesterday morning during breakfast….a plumb of dark gray and black smoke filling the sky.  Only later did we find out it was several buildings burning in Samba City; an area of warehouses where many of the Samba schools build and house their massive floats, costumes and props.  It was confirmed later in the day that several of the buildings were completely destroyed along with several floats, but the Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, vowed that ”Samba City will start to be rebuilt from this week” and insisted every single samba school would take part.  Here are a couple photos I took of the sky yesterday morning. -Lance