Rio de Janeiro Tours
Our operator in Rio is certified with the Brazilian National Responsible Tourism Certification and Rio de Janeiro Conscious Tourism. This official Certificate was created in accordance with the World Health Organization protocols by the Brazilian Tourism Dept and the Rio De Janeiro Tourism Dept. to ensure services and all chain related to the Tourism Industry apply the correct measures.
The American magazine Travel and Leisure elected the city of Rio de Janeiro the best destination in Latin America, receiving the prize “The World’s Best Awards 2003”. The same magazine has pointed Rio as one of the 5 world’s best destinations.
Here is a sample Rio tour itinerary with the most popular tours
(we can delete tours to bring the price down):
Day 1 - arrive Rio. After getting your luggage and going through customs, walk out the exit door and look for a person holding a sign with your name on it. He will transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon you will be taken to the top of Corcovado mountain. From here the visitor can see nearly the entire city of Rio. Also located here is the Christ the Redeemer statue, 38 meters high. From any place in the city, the visitor can see the most beautiful postcard of Rio de Janeiro: Christ the Redeemer statue on the mountain of Corcovado, located at 710 meters above the sea level and inaugurated in 1931. This tour begins with a pass by the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (except on Sundays) and continues on to Cosme Velho's neighborhood from where the cog train starts a trip through the Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world, up to the statue. Once there, a panoramic and extraordinary view of Rio will be seen including the Sugar Loaf, the Guanabara Bay, the beaches of Southern Zone and the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. After the visit of the Corcovado, you will be returned to your hotel.
Day 2 - breakfast, then you will be picked up for a Sugarloaf tour. This tour begins with a drive through downtown Rio, passing by the Sambodrome, the Metropolitan Cathedral, in pyramid form, with internal diameter of 96 meters and height of 80 meters. Get to know the traditional Cinelândia square with the historical buildings, the Municipal Theater, the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts. By taking the Aterro do Flamengo, you will be taken to the neighborhood of Urca where it is located one of the largest symbols of the city: the Sugar Loaf. This visit is made in two steps by cable car. The first cable car takes passengers to Urca Hill which is 215 meters high and from where one can have a beautiful view from the Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói bridge and Corcovado hill. From this stage, a second cable car will be taken up to the top with 395 meters to find a splendid view from Copacabana beach, the Santa Cruz fortress and some beaches of Niterói You will be delivered back to your hotel again at the end. Cost of cable car is included in the fare. Free afternoon.
Day 3 - breakfast, then choose from an optional tour from the list below:
Enter the Tijuca Rain Forest on a open jeep where is possible to see the contrast between the "Stone jungle and a tropical forest in the middle of a big city." We pass by the "Cachoeira dos macacos" (monkey's waterfall) At "Vista Chinesa" (chinese view) where you can take pictures, we explain the history of the reforestation process of that forest and the importance of the "Mata Atlântica" (Atlantic Forrest). We also pass by "the Mesa do Imperador" (emperor's table), Cascatinha (Taunay's waterfall), and Capela Mayrink (Mayrink chapel). Trekking of approximately 1 hour through an easy trail, where the botanical aspect is developed. Passengers will have straight contact with the local nature ecosystem. During this tour we will be able to see different types of tropical fruits, trees, animals like monkeys, various kind of birds and butterflies.
4 Hour Walking Tour – Downtown and Porto Maravilha (by public transport) - This tour combines the historic highlights of downtown Rio with the modern attractions in the Porto Maravilha area including the Olympic Boulevard. Ride Rio’s modern metro line to the Cinelãndia station downtown and visit the Municipal Theater, National Library, and the fine arts museum. Transition from the historic sites to Rio’s newly developed Port area riding on the new VLT, the light rail system. Visit the Mauá square learning about the history of Rio’s port and visiting the new attractions, including the “Olympic Boulevard” and the famous Graffiti Murals by Eduardo Kobra. A quick visit of Rio’s Art Museum (MAR) will provide a panoramic view of the Porto Maravilha area including the new Museum of Tomorrow. Return walking along the Olympic Boulevard (Orla Conde) to the Square of Nov. 15th (Praça XV) which provides a great view of the Guanabara Bay. From there we can see the Ferry station, Imperial Paço (Palace), and the Tiradentes monument. To end the tour, walk back to the Carioca square in the heart of the city. Return to Copacabana or Ipanema.
Day 4 - breakfast, then free day till you are transferred to the airport (if you have an evening flight out, why not add another optional tour?)
Sample 2023 Price per person in US$ for Rio only
(many other hotels available):
(check with us for current price because rates can change due to the exchange rate.)
These prices include private roundtrip airport transfers and private tours with English-speaking driver (except for Tijuca Forest, which is a group jeep tour), standard rooms in hotels with breakfasts. (can use Portugese-speaking driver to reduce cost. Can price with group tours and walking tour with private transport. We can price for upgraded rooms. Prices change for holidays and special occasions . The hotels have many rate categories and we used prices valid for much of the year in order to simplify the chart, so just use these prices as examples. We can customize the package to fit your desires (adding days, subtracting days, etc.)
Extensions and Other Day Trip Options
extension to Buzios:
Just 105 miles from Rio de Janeiro, a pleasant 2-hour trip takes you to the peninsula of Búzios, whose more than 20 magnificent beaches and crystal-clear water contrast with the exuberantly sculptured landscape and exotic vegetation, which a prodigal "Mother Nature" has privileged with a wonderful year-round summer. Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, this happy mixture of many bloods prospered and became a picturesque fishing village, elected one of the 10 most beautiful areas in the world, famous for its unique combination of rustic charm, architectural harmony, incredible beauty and sophisticated boutiques and restaurants frequented by discerning visitors who come from all over the world to savour its magic.
Extension to Paraty:
A beautiful colonial city, considered a National Historical Monument, it preserves until today its countless natural and architectural charms. Explore on foot the historical center of Paraty, free of cars , and you will travel back in time, where walking has to be done in a leisurely pace due to the irregular rounded cobblestone pavement of its streets. The construction of its old housing and churches reflect a certain style of that time and the mysterious masonry symbols which decorate its walls, lead our imagination back to the old times of Brazil. The prohibition of motorized vehicles in the Center certainly adds to this feeling of a "time travel".
Also a 3 night cruise from Paraty to Ilha Grande and back.
Extension to Ilha Grande:
a fascinating tropical paradise with more than one hundred beaches squeezed among mountains and the Atlantic forest, only a few hours drive from Rio de Janeiro. Ilha Grande is an ecological paradise so, forget the urban life. Make sure you visit the waterfalls, walk on the trails into the woods and and do the indispensable schooner cruise around the Island.
Extension to Comuna do Ibitipoca
Comuna do Ibitipoca is equal parts luxury lodge, sustainability initiative, art gallery, conservation project, wellness retreat, rewilding initiative, wildlife sanctuary, adventure center, rural regeneration project, organic farm, historic preservation site and model community
Petropolis to Teresopolis Trek :
A 2 day trek to exotic shaped peaks, the preserved rain forest, the clear water rivers and luxurious waterfalls are some of the attractions of this tour
Other Day Tours in Rio That Can be Substituted in Packages
This is an unusual walking tour which gives the visitor a feeling for the legends and stories woven around the narrow streets and old historical buildings of downtown Rio.
Tour/Package Length: 4 Hours
Departure Times: 2:00 PM - Days of Week:--Tuesday through Friday
CORCOVADO AND SANTA TERESA DISTRICT
This tour includes a visit to Sta. Teresa, a traditional district with a mild climate and big houses from the beginning of the century, built mainly by English railroad managers. In our days, it became an art center with lots of craftsmanship galleries and the only district in Rio where we can find the trolley car.
Route: Pick-up in convertible Jeeps at the hotel –Cosme Velho Street – stop at Corcovado - stop at D.Marta belvedere – Sta. Teresa District – Lapa Arches - return to the hotel.
Minimum of pax: 02. Duration: 3 hours
Pick-up time: 9:00 am and 2:00 pm (subject to changes)
TIJUCA FOREST AND BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Botanical Garden, created in 1817 by the king D.João IV, bound for the culture of exotic plants brought form all over the world, is a unique park due its the variety of species. Next, we visit the Tijuca Atlantic Forest, the largest urban forest in the world stopping at the Chinese View belvedere with a magnificent view of the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the Guanabara Bay and the Sugar Loaf. During the tour, usually we can see tropical animals like monkeys, monkeys sloths and exotic birds. On the way back to the hotel, we stop at the Pepino Beach to watch the hang gliders.
Minimum of pax : 4 Duration: 4 hours
NIGHT ON THE TOWN
Music and fun are key ingredients of Rio’s exciting nightlife! This atmosphere is brought to life at Plataforma’s nightly Carnaval Parade show... an experience of live music, brilliant costumes, rhythmic drumming and unbelievable dancing!Afterwards, passengers are returned to their hotels.
Tour/Package Length: 3 Hours
Days of Week: daily
Private Full Day Sugarloaf and Corcovado
Drive along the downtown area of Rio until reaching the famous football stadium of “Maracanã” (inside visit can be included). From there continue back through the center of town (old part of the city) passing by the Sambadrome, Modern Cathedral and Municipal theatre. Continuing via Flamengo park until reaching Urca neighborhood and Praia Vermelha cable car Station where you will be taken to the Urca mountain (mid-way station) with its gardens and look-out points. Then, the second part of the ride will take you to the peak of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, 1300 ft. above sea level. .
We continue the tour in the afternoon to Rio's world-famous landmark, the "Corcovado-Mountain" with the statue of Christ The Redeemer, is a must for the visitors of our city. It is set right in the "Tijuca Rainforest National Park (the largest urban park in the world)" which is in the heart of the city of Rio, being considered by locals as the “lung of the city”. From Copacabana the bus takes the route through tunnel "Rebouças", which intersects the surrounding mountain range, reaching "Laranjeiras District". From there, a cogwheel train, constructed by Swiss engineers, takes visitors up–passing lovely parts of the forest allowing visitors to have panoramic views of the city while climbing up. Finally, after reaching the mountain top, escalators are available as well as elevator to assist passengers reaching the statue – which stands on its 28 meters of height. And the most marvelous view of the city. Return to the hotel at the end of the day.
The city of Petrópolis is located 60 km away from Rio and it's called the Imperial City since the Emperor Pedro II, enchanted by its fresh climate and beauty, bought a large property in 1830. Settled by the germans, Petrópolis keeps the memory of Brazilian history with its buildings and charming streets.
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Golden Lion Tamarin Trail at Poco das Antas Biological Reserve - Due to habitat fragmentation and deforestation, these squirrel-sized creatures saw their global population numbers plummet dangerously to fewer than 200 wild individuals in the 1970s. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of conservationists working in Brazil’s Poço das Antas Biological Reserve, and many partners supporting their efforts in the field and with fundraising, the golden lion tamarins are staging an encouraging comeback. There are nearly 1,600 individuals today and conservationists hope there will be 2,000 by 2025.
Burle Marx & Casa do Pontal
Roberto Burle Marx is internationally known as one of the most important landscape architects of the 20th century. An artist of multiple facets, besides being a landscape designer he was also a remarkable painter, sculptor, singer, and jewelry designer, with a sensibility that is shown throughout his work. Born in São Paulo in August 4th, 1909, Roberto Burle Marx moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1913. During the years of 1928 and 1929 he studied painting in Berlin - Germany, where he was often seen at the Dahlem Botanic Garden's greenhouses. In this garden he noticed for the first time the beauty of the tropical plants and the Brazilian flora. His first landscape project was a private garden for a house designed by the Architects Lucio Costa and Gregory Warchavchik in 1932. Since then, his landscape works improved as well as his painting and drawing. In 1949, he bought a 365,000 square meter estate in Barra de Guaratiba, in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where he started to organize his big collection of plants. In 1985, he donated this estate to a federal government cultural organization, Pró-Memória National Foundation, which is nowadays called National Institute for Cultural Heritage - IPHAN. Roberto Burle Marx died in Rio de Janeiro in 1994, at the age of 84.
Sitio Burle Marx - In an area estimated in 100 acres, Burle Marx could bring together one of the most important collections of semi-tropical and tropical plants of the world. This valuable collection is considered a National Monument since 1985.
Casa do Pontal - The museum stands on one of the most beautiful sites of Rio de Janeiro, in a pleasant country house and grounds at Recreio dos Bandeirantes, between the sea and the Serra de Grumari Ecological Reserve. This is the largest museum of Brazilian Folk Art. The only one in Brazil to afford a comprehensive view of the life and culture of the Brazilian people
ADVENTURE DAY TRIPS
HANGLIDING & PARAGLIDING
Hang-gliding between the blue sky and the transparent sea makes Rio's landscape a thrilling experience. This sport was incorporated as a tourist attraction in the 80s, when pilots began to make tandem flights, allowing everyone to enjoy the fascinating panorama of beaches, city and forest from above. No previous experience is necessary. Optional photos and DVD may be taken during your flight from a camera attached to the wing. We take-off from Pedra Bonita Mountain and the land on Pepino Beach in the São Conrado district.
Tour duration: 2 hours, with 20 min. of flight
Difficulty level: no experience required
Minimum group size: 1
Restriction: Maximum body weight 90 kilos (200 pds)
PEDRA DA GAVEA TREKKING
This is an impressing granite mountain on Rio’s shoreline, easily recognizable for its huge flat top. It is certainly the city's most beautiful hike, but only recommended for the reasonably fit and experienced hikers. During 2/3 of the trail, we hike inside the Atlantic Rain Forest. On the last part the vegetation is lower and the views are breathtaking, a blend of forested slopes, ocean and the city. After a short and easy rock-climb we reach the summit, which is Rio’s most spectacular viewpoint. During all the way you have the support of bilingual climbing instructor who provides safety, climbing equipment, instructions and information.
Pick-up at the hotel, get primary instructions and fill the agreement form; 3 hours hike up; 50ft easy rock-climb; Enjoy the view and rest at the summit (2750ft.); 2hours hiking down; Return to hotel Included:
Tour duration: 8hs
Difficulty level: hard
Minimum group size: 2
SUGAR LOAF HIKING & CLIMBING
This dramatic granite rock is a well-known Rio landmark, and also an over-explored tourist attraction. We start this trip strolling along a beautiful shoreline pedestrian path, then hike up 20 min. on a rocky mountain slope, up to a wonderful view point of Guanabara Bay and Niterói city. At this point the guides will provide you instructions and climbing equipment to face a 30 min scrambling and about 80ft of easy rock climb, perfect for a first experience. Always supported by 2 bilingual climbing instructors who provide all safety, we hike more 40 min on the on a rocky trail, to reach the top of the mountain. On the way down we take the cable car to Urca Hill and hike an easy 30 min forest trail back to the sea level.
Tour duration: 5hs
Difficulty level: moderate/ hard
Minimum group size: 2
TIJUCA FOREST HIKING
This park is known as the largest urban forest on earth. Its huge mountains covered with tropical vegetation contrast with dramatic granite rocks forming the unique background for Rio's beaches and constructions. In this tour we visit the Park's best viewpoints, waterfalls and hike up Tijuca Peak (Rio's highest at 3300 ft). Located inside the Park, at the top of Corcovado Mountain, the statue of Christ the Redeemer has been elected one of the “New Seven Wonders of World” and it is considered Rio’s best view.
Tour duration: 5hs
Difficulty level: easy/ moderate
Minimum group size: 2
Ocean kayaking is one of the best ways to explore Rio's beautiful coast and enjoy unique views of the city, forest and mountains. We start this trip the Urca beach stretching and receiving primary instructions. After the warm up we start to pedal in the Guanabara Bay surrounded by the city and the mountains. Our experienced instructors will guide you through the bay according to your profile showing most beautiful landscapes and famous attractions. After approximately 2 hours on the water we return to the beach.
Tour duration: 3hs
Difficulty level: moderate
Minimum group size: 2
Surfing is a very popular sport in Rio, coming right below soccer which is the favorite national sport. The long coast offers wonderful areas for surfing, with many beach breaks providing ideal conditions for easy and safe learning. The best beaches in the city are Barra da Tijuca, Macumba, Prainha and Grumari, on the West zone. No previous experience is required. Hotel pick-up/drop-off and Surf board rental are included. We have the best instructors in town, and they are prepared either to teach beginners or assist experienced surfers. 2 hours - instructions and surf lesson
Tour duration: half day
Difficulty level: no previous experience required. Swimming ability is required.
Minimum group size: 2