To visitors, Rio de Janeiro is an exotic city where color and music flourish. Although the Cariocas (residents of Rio) agree, they know there's much more to their "Wonderful City." Explore irresistible beaches, surf and wooded mountains, the world-famous landmarks of the Pão de Açúcar and Cristo Redentor, and more on this quick immersion into the magic of Rio.

Highlights

  • Learn how to move like a Carnival dancer
  • Hike and take the cable car up iconic Sugarloaf Mountain
  • Enjoy the views from the Christ the Redeemer statue
  • Visit an amazing community social art project in a favela
  • Explore Brazilian history in Little Africa and Cais do Valongo

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Experience the Carioca lifestyle - Community social project in a favela Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Carnival experience - Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Corcovado Peak and Christ the Redeemer - Little Africa Rio de Janeiro
Day 5 Departure Rio de Janeiro  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana Boardwalk
Copacabana Boardwalk

After your arrival at the airport in Rio de Janeiro, your guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Copacabana.

You'll soon start to understand why Rio de Janeiro has been called the Wonderful City, or Magnificent City, for over a century. It's inspired artists and composers from all over the world. The city's unique beauty, rich culture, and geographical diversity with mountains, tropical forest, and stunning beaches provide the perfect setting for adventurous travelers. Explore the local culture, be active, taste the local cuisine, and experience the arts. There's a lot to see and do here.

Day 2: Experience the Carioca lifestyle - Community social project in a favela

Morrinho Project

Learn about the local lifestyle of the 'Cariocas', the nickname given to people from Rio de Janeiro. The tour starts on foot to the nearest subway station, where you will then take a 15-minute ride to the commercial and historic center of the city. From there, you will explore the highlights on foot, including the Metropolitan Cathedral of São Sebastião, and the Saara neighborhood. Get an insight into the customs, commerce, and joy of the Carioca people.

Stop to try some delicious natural juice made from fresh tropical fruit. At the end of your morning tour you'll stop for lunch at Confeitaria Colombo, one of the oldest and most historic restaurants in Brazil. 

In the afternoon, visit a community social project in a favela. Located in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa is an art installation, the Morrinho Project, which is socially important for the community. It consists of a miniature representation on the side of a favela made entirely of painted clay bricks. The project originally started as a children's game, although it was developed in an artistic neighborhood.

To get there, your guide will lead you through the streets and alleys of the community, a perfect introduction to the cultural importance of this area and its history of expression and resistance through art. Along the way, you'll pass spectacular viewpoints, where you can see Guanabara Bay and the Sugar Loaf.

Once you're at the project you can check out the miniature reconstruction of Rio's favelas, with complex painted streets, 3000 inhabitants, and even police officers. The level of detail is amazing. On your walking tour with the founders of the project, you'll learn more about how this children's pastime became a means of expression for a whole generation of the community.

The tour finishes in Laranjeiras, another entrance to this favela, from where you'll return to your accommodation.

Day 3: Carnival experience - Sugarloaf Mountain

Carnival experience

In the morning you will live the Carnival experience! There is nothing more representative of Brazil than the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, an annual event that attracts people from all over the world. During Carnival, colors, music, and costumes parade before the eyes radiating the joy and warmth of the Brazilian people.

On this tour you will visit the Cidade do Samba, Samba City, where dances are developed. A local guide will lead you on a tour of the Pimpolhos Project, a social project that seeks to transform the community by training professionals in dance, production, music, and arts. With them, you will learn about the history of samba music and dance, and the carnival parades. You will also have a chance to try on some costumes, take pictures, and learn a little bit of percussion and samba to feel the carnival atmosphere for yourself. After all that dancing, you will be rewarded with a delicious, refreshing caipirinha. 

In the afternoon, visit the famous Mirante de Pão de Açúcar, Sugarloaf Mountain. The tour starts by driving to the cable car station at Praia Vermelha in Urca. From there, your local guide will take you on a hike along the Claudio Coutinho track for almost a mile. The hike takes about 45 minutes at most, going up slowly. It is great to enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods, keeping an eye out for marmosets and birds. At the end of the trail, you will take the cable car to the top of Pão de Açúcar, and return also by cable car. 

Day 4: Corcovado Peak and Christ the Redeemer - Little Africa

Christ the Redeemer

The morning begins with a visit to Corcovado Peak and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. You'll drive to the base of the mountain, where you will take a train through the beautiful, lush Tijuca Forest to the top of Corcovado Peak (2329 feet / 710 m). The 124 foot (38 m) high Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. From there you can get a fantastic panoramic view of the city.

After lunch, visit the area known as Little Africa. During the colonial era, two million Africans were enslaved in Rio de Janeiro. Once the slave trade became illegal in 1831, the port area known as Cais do Valongo became known as Little Africa. This tour explores the region’s past and present, and includes important landmarks like New Blacks Cemetery, where some slaves are buried.

In addition to exploring the Cais do Volongo, you will have a chance to enjoy Harmony Square (Praça da Harmonia), the immense Ethnicities Mural (the largest of its kind in the world), the Suspended Gardens of Valongo, and San Francisco da Parinha Plaza, with its statue of Mercedes Baptista, the first black classical dancer in Brazil. The tour also passes by Pedra da Sal, which is the cradle of samba and religious groups in the city, and a significant monument dedicated to the memory of African slaves in Brazil.

Day 5: Departure Rio de Janeiro

Beaches of Rio de Janeiro

Your tour has come to an end, and you'll be transferred to Rio de Janeiro Airport in good time to check-in for your flight to your next destination.