“When gay guys come to Rio de Janeiro for the first time, a lot of them are all about Ipanema Beach, but there’s much more to Rio than bronzing and cruising,” says David Laster. Along with his partner, Lance Horsley, Laster owns and operates Casa Cool Beans (R. Laurinda Santos Lobo 136. Tel: +55-212-262-0552. www.casacoolbeans.com), a casual, contemporary ten-room guest house in Santa Teresa, the hillside bohemian enclave that’s been called a Brazilian Montmartre. “We’re just 20 minutes to the beach by cab ($10-$15 US),” adds Horsley. “There’s no question that you should spend time enjoying the gay beaches and visiting the classic tourist attractions like the cable car at Sugarloaf Mountain(www.bondinho.com.br) and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue(www.corcovado.com.br/ingles), but if you want to get a deeper sense of Rio, and a true local experience, Santa Teresa is an amazing place to stay,” he says.