- Ascend Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer up close
- Relax on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema
- Ride a cable car to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain
- Learn about life in the favela with a local guide
- Watch Carnival musicians and dancers in action
|Day 1||Arrive in Rio de Janeiro & Explore||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 2||Discover Corcovado & Little Africa||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 3||Experience the Spirit of Carnival||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 4||Learn About Life in the Favela||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 5||Visit Sugarloaf Mountain||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 6||Explore the Tijuca Forest||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 7||Relax on Copacabana||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 8||Depart Brazil - End of Trip|
Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro & Explore
Welcome to Brazil! When you arrive 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. The city's unique beauty, rich culture, and geographical diversity — characterized by dramatic mountains, tropical forests, and stunning beaches — provide the perfect setting for adventurous travelers. In the afternoon, you'll go on a tour around the commercial and historic center of the city. With a guide, explore urban highlights on foot, including the Metropolitan Cathedral of São Sebastião and the Saara neighborhood. Stop to try delicious juices made from fresh tropical fruit. You'll also stop for something to eat at Confeitaria Colombo, one of the oldest and most historic restaurants in Brazil, before getting some rest at your hotel.
Day 2: Discover Corcovado & Little Africa
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The morning begins with a visit to Corcovado and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. You'll drive to the base of the mountain, where you will take a train through the lush Tijuca Forest to the top of Corcovado Peak (2,329 feet/ 710 meters). 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, including 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 3: Experience the Spirit of Carnival
Today 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 your tour you will visit the Cidade do Samba, or 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, also known as the national cocktail, made with sugar cane spirits and fresh-squeezed lime.
Day 4: Learn About Life in the Favela
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 over Guanabara Bay.
Once you're at the project you can check out the miniature reconstruction of Rio's favelas, with complex painted streets, thousands of inhabitants, 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 5: Visit Sugarloaf Mountain
After much anticipation — by this point, you'll have seen the mountain from many perspectives — today is the day you'll visit the famous Pão de Açúcar, also known as 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's 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, then return by cable car.
Day 6: Explore the Tijuca Forest
Today you will explore Tijuca National Park in the middle of Rio, the largest urban forest in the world. Pass through the Vista Chinesa and Mesa do Imperador, both of which offer fantastic views of the city. If you are feeling energetic, you can hike to the summit of Pico da Tijuca (2.5 hours) at 3,350 feet (1,021 meters) above sea level.
Day 7: Relax on Copacabana
On the last full day of the trip, do what the locals do best — relax! Chill out on the sand in Copacabana, walk along the waterfront promenade to Ipanema, watch Brazilians playing beach volleyball, go for a swim in the ocean, and try grilled corn and fresh-squeezed lemonade from vendors on the beach. Dine in a seafood restaurant near the coast for your last Brazilian meal before flying out.
Day 8: Depart Brazil - End of Trip
Today the trip comes to an end. You'll head to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels!
More Brazil Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Brazil? Check out these other Brazil itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
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