I stayed at the Pousada Santa Trem for the majority of my most recent trip to Rio de Janeiro. I believe in total we stayed there for around 21 nights during the World Cup. The location of the hostel is brilliant. It is only a ten minute walk from Lapa and at the bottom of the street is a bus stop where you can catch buses to all the main tourist spots. The 433 to Copacabana is easy and you can also catch the 497 bus to Cosme Velho which is the bus for Cristo Redemptor.
However what made the hostel what it is was Alex the owner. Alex really is a great guy and unbelievably generous. On my first night there, my girlfriend and me were the only guests in the hostel, and Alex and his family were having a bbq for the first game of the World Cup. He invited us along and cooked for us and made us caipirinha’s. It really was a nice thing to do, and was much needed after getting completely lost in Rio on our first day! Also later in to our trip we left the hostel for a few days after getting a ticket to a match down in Curitiba. And because we did this Alex offered to make up the days later on if we wanted, for free, which we took full advantage of for our last few nights in Rio. This was a massive help because as you know, towards the end of a month trip funds can be a little low! So this was a massive boost and saved us a lot of cash. But the generosity didn’t end there – he even bought my girlfriend a birthday cake for her birthday! Great Guy!
But yes the Pousada Santa Trem really was central to my experience in Rio. I met so many good people there and it was nice to stay at a place that felt safe and secure. It had a nice porch area with a bbq, which made socializing with other guests real easy. A group of about 20 of us took full advantage of that bbq and cheap Brazilian meat one day! I would definitely recommend this hostel to anyone looking to visit Rio in the coming future. The only area I would recommend to improve would be the ability to pay by card. But this is a common issue with a number of hostels in Brazil and usually isn’t that big a pain. However saying that he did provide me with a bodyguard so I could collect the money from the bank without being robbed!!