Insider's Guide to Rio de Janeiro

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 46 Reviews

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  • Location:Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Duration:8 hours (approx.)

Rio de Janeiro Combo Tour: Santa Teresa, Corcovado Mountain and Santa Marta Favela

Visit some of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous attractions and discover the various sides to the city on this full-day tour with a local guide. Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, which you’ll reach by tram, and see landmarks like the 18th-century aqueduct and Selarón’s Staircase. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and Guanabara Bay from the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the summit of Corcovado, and learn what life is like in a Brazilian shantytown during a visit to the Santa Marta favela.

This tour operates with a maximum of 12 participants, ensuring you enjoy a small-group experience.


  • Full-day Rio de Janeiro sightseeing and cultural tour
  • Walk around the cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa
  • Visit the top of Corcovado to see the Christ the Redeemer statue
  • Enjoy stunning views of Rio’s naturally blessed landscape
  • Tour the Santa Marta favela with your guide, and meet some local residents
  • Ride the city subway and the historic Santa Teresa tram
  • Small-group tour limited to 12 people provides a more personalized experience

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Rio de Janeiro Combo Tour: Santa Teresa, Corcovado Mountain and Santa Marta Favela

Rio de Janeiro Combo Tour

Meet your guide and group at the Copacabana Palace Hotel, and start your full-day Rio tour with a subway ride downtown — a great way to experience a bit of local life.

Get off at Carioca Station, and walk with your guide through the Financial District and to Carioca Square, once the main source of Rio’s drinking water, which was brought in via aqueducts. Then board the historic Santa Teresa tram — the last working tram in the city — to travel up the hill to the artsy, eclectic neighborhood of Santa Teresa.

The 20-minute ride takes you across the Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches), an 18th-century aqueduct, to the Largo dos Guimaraes station, where you’ll hop off to explore the narrow cobblestone streets that make Santa Teresa such a popular destination. While walking around with your guide, admire the 18th- and 19th-century buildings that were once home to the city’s elite but now house art galleries, restaurants and bars. Set on a hill, the neighborhood offers great views — visit Ruins Park for photo opportunities of downtown and Guanabara Bay.

Walk past the neighborhood convent, and then check out Selarón’s Staircase (Escadaria Selarón), a set of 250 steps covered in tiles from all over the world. They were created in the 1990s by artist Jorge Selarón and have been featured in all kinds of productions, from an episode of The Amazing Race to a Snoop Dogg video. From here, ride the subway to Cinelandia station and head back to nearby Copacabana for a lunch stop (own expense).

Your tour continues to the base of the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) at the top of Corcovado, the mountain that towers over Rio. To get there, you'll take Tijuca National Park transport from either Copacabana, Largo do Machado or Paineiras Station (depending on convenience on the day of travel). As you stand at an elevation of 2,300 feet (700 meters), admire the incredible view of the city and take an up-close look at the iconic Rio statue. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the statue was built in the 1930s and boasts a height of 98 feet (30 meters) and a wingspan of 92 feet (28 meters).

Enjoy one last sweeping view of Rio’s beaches, mountains, bays and skyscrapers before heading by bus to your last stop, a very different picture of modern-day Rio de Janeiro. When you arrive at the Santa Marta favela, explore the community accompanied by a resident guide, meeting local inhabitants and learning about their daily life. Back in the mid-1990s, Michael Jackson shot the Spike Lee-directed music video for his controversial song ‘They Don't Care About Us’ in the favela. On your tour, see some of the places featured in that video and learn how the filming — which was surrounded by legal issues — affected the favela’s residents.

Your tour ends with your return by bus to the Copacabana Palace Hotel.


Please note: We are sensitive to the issues and concerns surrounding favelas, and we understand that this tour may not be suitable for everyone. We strongly believe that the purpose of this tour is for educational reasons alone and allows for a better understanding of Brazilian life inside a favela. Furthermore, the tour operator has an agreement with the local tourism committee of the Santa Marta favela, and proceeds from your tour help support the local community day care called Creche Comunitária Mundo Infantil.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent tour - comfortable transportation, and Alex was a great tour guide - very knowledgeable about the history of Brazil and had a great, good-natured sense of humor - especially when talking about football with a couple of German tourists! The Favela was a real highlight!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This really was a great way to experience more than just the tourist traps of Rio. Daniel was fantastic - passionate about his city and guiding. It was a bonus that along the way we met many people who knew Daniel personally which really added to the authenticity - I felt like a local rather than a tourist. Getting around via public transport built my confidence to do it on my own for the rest of the week. It was great to visit Santa Teresa although this was the first stop of the day and everything was closed.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Not just a walk by The Favelas, but actually walking into them. A real interesting place. Had great weather in August.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Very interesting

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Very good,must see

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

LOVED LOVED LOVED this Tour. You definitely feel like a local during this tour. you get the real deal of the real RIO. Our Tour guide Ivan is the best! he was very detailed and patient with us. this is definitely a MUST DO!!!!! be prepared to do alot of walking but it is totally worth it. i learned so much.

Thank you so much IVAN!!!!!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

It's a informative tour and we got a pretty cool sunset at Chist the Redeemer.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

It was a fantastic tour! We were a small group of 4 people, so it was perfect to get around the city. No need to wait for 20 more people to go to the bathroom or pay at the souvenir was frustration-free, compared to regular tours! It actually felt more like we were a group of friends visiting the city the way locals do by bus, subway and on foot, rather than a big group of tourists moving around in a tainted window bus.
Our guide, Daniel, was wonderful! He knows everything about the city, the spirit and way of life of Carioca and is a good story-teller with a perfect English and French.
The time spent at each location was well-balanced, we got to get a good feel of each neighborhood.
As regards the amount of walking, it's not too much, although we use public transportation. Someone in our group was wearing flip flops and he managed pretty well. But it'll be more comfortable in walking shoes especially if the lift in Santa Marta is under maintenance and you have to go up on foot!.
Loved it!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

great tour
great guide
worth every single penny spent
I would recommend this to everyone

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Fantastic tour! Enjoyed every bit if it. A little bit on the pricey side but it's well worth it for the great insight you get into life in Rio. Loved the fact that public transport is used and got so many good tips from our guide Daniel. Highlight of our trip!

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Tour code: 5207BRUH


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