After your flight lands in Rio, enjoy personalized pickup at the airport and transfer to your choice of 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel (with single or double accommodation; see list of hotels under the Important Info
tab). Customize your tour by selecting three of the following activities upon booking, each of which last a half day with the exception of the Petrópolis Day Trip. See Itinerary
below for the details of each activity.Day 2 and Day 4 (choose one of the following activities for each day):
Day 3 (choose one of the following activities):
- Sugar Loaf Mountain and City Tour
- Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour
- Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer Statue
- Guanabara Bay Cruise
- Rocinha Favela Tour
- Petrópolis Day Trip
Day 1: Airport – Hotel
Enjoy pickup from Rio de Janeiro International Airport that coincides with your flight arrival time, and relax as your driver takes you to your hotel in the South Zone (Zona Sul), a district bustling with beaches, hotels, dining and nightlife. Check in at your accommodation, where you’ll stay for three nights, and confirm your activity schedule for the next three days with your guide. Feel free to ask for restaurant recommendations, and if there’s still daylight, perhaps explore the scenic Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
Overnight stay at a South Zone hotel
Day 2: Sugar Loaf Mountain and City Tour, Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer Statue, or Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour
After hotel pickup, travel with your guide for one of the following tours, each of which covers some of the most popular attractions of Rio.
Sugar Loaf Mountain and City Tour (4 hours)
Take a morning tour of Rio’s historical sights. Visit Cinelandia Square and check out the Municipal Theater, the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts. At the Metropolitan Cathedral, marvel at its unusual conical structure, a design inspired by a Mayan pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula. Swing by the Sambadrome, where the city’s samba schools perform and compete during Carnival.
Then head to the Urca district and step into a glass cable car that takes you up Sugar Loaf Mountain. Make a stop almost halfway up and admire gorgeous views of the city, Guanabara Bay, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. Reach the top of Sugar Loaf, 1,299 feet (396 meters) high, and capture panoramas of the famous Copacabana Beach, Santa Cruz Fortress and the beaches of Niteroi. After drop-off at your hotel, enjoy free time in the afternoon.
Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer Statue (4 hours)
After a relaxing morning to spend as you like, your transport takes you to Cosme Velho station, where you’ll hop aboard a cog train for a 20-minute ride through the tropical Tijuca Forest. Reach the apex of Corcovado Mountain and stand right below the Christ the Redeemer statue, 130 feet (39 meters) tall. Gaze up at his outstretched arms, spanning 98 feet (30 meters) wide. Learn about the iconic art-deco statue unveiled in 1931 and named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour (4 hours)
Spend your morning inside the lush Tijuca Forest, located minutes from the city center. Climb aboard an open-air Jeep and hear about the reforestation program of Tijuca National Park. See the Emperor's Table, where Brazil’s last emperor took his court for picnics, and the Mayrink Chapel, pink and purple with painted panels. Find out about the country’s first Chinese immigrants at Vista Chinesa, as you soak up views of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, Guanabara Bay and even as far as Niteroi.
Stretch your legs with a laid-back 30-minute forest trek with your guide. Stroll to the cascade of Cachoeira dos Macacos, pass the Cascatinha waterfalls, and learn about the diverse plant and wildlife you spot along the way. At the end of your Jeep tour, you’ll be taken back to your hotel.
Overnight at a South Zone hotel
Day 3: Petrópolis Day Trip, Rocinha Favela Tour, or Guanabara Bay Cruise
Your guide takes you on one of the following tours, each of which explores less frequented sites but worth every minute of your time.
Petrópolis Day Trip (10 hours)
Your transport takes you on a 90-minute route north past forests and waterfalls to Petrópolis, a quiet mountain resort known as Brazil’s Imperial City, located in the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos. Upon arrival in Petrópolis, visit the Imperial Museum, housed in the former summer palace of Pedro II, Brazil's second and final emperor. See how the country's royalty once lived inside this restored Austrian-style palace built in 1845. Gaze at tapestries, as well as antique furniture and jewels, including the imperial crown studded with over 600 diamonds and 77 pearls, weighing nearly 4 pounds (1.7 kg).
Next, admire the Gothic-style St Peter of Alcantara Cathedral, home to the tombstones of Pedro II and his family. Follow your guide to a picturesque park and imagine the royal parties held at Crystal Palace, a ballroom made of glass and steel, all built and imported from France, as a gift to Princess Isabel from her husband. At the end of the day, enjoy transport back to Rio.
Rocinha Favela Tour in Rio de Janeiro (4 hours)
This morning tour shows you a different side of Rio that most tourists don’t see: the hillside favela of Rocinha, located in the South Zone. Rocinha is one of Brazil’s many underdeveloped and overcrowded settlements built at the edges of cities. Follow your guide’s lead and wander up Rocinha’s narrow staircases, into meandering streets, and meet the people who live here. Gain insight into their day-to-day lifestyles as you visit a craftsmanship store and a cultural center. A portion of your tour proceeds is given to a local favela community.
Guanabara Bay Cruise (4 hours)
Capture different views of Rio as you sail across Guanabara Bay. Learn about how the Portuguese explorers’ arrival here in 1502 led to the city being named Rio de Janeiro, or River of January. During the 2-hour morning cruise, take in views of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana Beach and the statue of Christ Redeemer. Your guide points out the neighborhoods of Botafogo, Flamengo and Urca, as well as Fort Sao Joao, Flagstone Island, Santa Cruz Fortress and Rio-Niteroi Bridge. When the ship returns to the pier, you’re taken back to your hotel.
Overnight at a South Zone hotel
Day 4: Sugar Loaf Mountain and City Tour, Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer Statue, or Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour
With so much to see in Rio, you’ll want another opportunity to get to know this vibrant city. Check out of your hotel and embark on another tour from the options offered from Day 2. Your final outing concludes with transport to the hotel and then the airport.