This weeklong itinerary is perfect for travelers who are visiting Brazil for the first time. First, you'll tour the most famous sites in Rio de Janeiro, including the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer statue, and experience the energy of Carnival before heading off to the nearby colonial town of Paraty where you can stroll through historic neighborhoods, learn how to cook with Brazilian flair, bike through tropical forests, and relax on secluded beaches.

Highlights

  • Explore Rio de Janeiro's best sites and neighborhoods on a walking tour
  • Experience the magic and music of Carnival on a special excursion
  • Take a Brazilian cooking class with a local chef
  • See colorful colonial architecture & relax on tropical beaches in Paraty
  • Ride in a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain and see Christ the Redeemer

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Walking Tour of Rio - Carnival Experience Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Sugarloaf Mountain - Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Rio de Janeiro - Walking Tour of Paraty Paraty
Day 5 Bike Tour of Paraty - Brazilian Cooking Class Paraty
Day 6 Free Day in Paraty Paraty
Day 7 Depart via Rio de Janeiro  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana boardwalk in Rio de Janero
Copacabana boardwalk in Rio de Janero

Welcome to Brazil! When you land at the Tom Jobin International Airport (GIG) in Rio de Janeiro, a guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Copacabana.

Rio de Janeiro, also known as the "Marvelous City," has inspired artists and composers from all over the world thanks to the city's unique beauty, rich cultural scene, and geographic diversity. Mountains, tropical forest and stunning beaches provide the perfect setting for adventurous travelers.

After you check in at your hotel, you'll have the rest of the evening free to explore the seaside Copacabana neighborhood.

Day 2: Walking Tour of Rio - Carnival Experience

Immerse yourself in the art of Carnival!
Immerse yourself in the art of Carnival!

Today, a local guide will introduce you to the lifestyle of Rio's locals, who are known as Cariocas. You'll walk to the nearest subway station and take a 15-minute ride to the commercial and historic center of the city. From there, you will explore the city's highlights on foot, including the Metropolitan Cathedral of São Sebastião and the Saara neighborhood. Make sure you stop at one of the street vendors and try some delicious natural juice made from fresh tropical fruits.

After your walking tour of the city, you'll be able to live the Carnival experience! The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a celebratory event that takes place once a year and attracts people from all over the world with its parade of colors, music, and costumes.

On this tour, you will visit to the Cidade do Samba (Samba City), where different dances are choreographed. 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 the arts. You'll learn about the history of samba music and dance, and the carnival parades. In order to help you feel the carnival atmosphere, you will also have a chance to try on some costumes, take pictures, play percussion, and learn to samba. After all that dancing, you will be rewarded with a delicious, refreshing caipirinha!

Day 3: Sugarloaf Mountain - Christ the Redeemer

Aerial view of Christ the Redeemer
Aerial view of Christ the Redeemer

The morning begins with a visit to Corcovado Peak and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. After breakfast, you'll take a car to the cable car station in Praia Vermelha.

You can first hike the paved Pista Claudio Coutinho trail, also known as Caminho Bem Te Vi, which is a little over .6 miles (1 km). The hike takes 45 minutes at most, and you'll be able to enjoy the woods and spot animals like marmosets and tropical birds. At the end of the trail, you'll take the cable car to Morro da Orca

The cable car will take you through the lush Tijuca Forest to the top of Corcovado Peak. The peak is 2,329 feet (710 meters) high, and it's home to one of the seven wonder of the world—the 124-foot (38-meter) tall Christ the Redeemer statue. From there, you'll have a fantastic panoramic view of the city. After you're done exploring, you will return to the cable car and head back to your hotel.

Day 4: Rio de Janeiro - Walking Tour of Paraty

A quiet street in Paraty
A quiet street in Paraty

After breakfast at your hotel, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the coastal colonial town of Paraty. After you check in and drop your baggage off at your hotel, a guide will meet you and take you on a walking tour of the center of the town, where you will learn about the history of the area and its compelling architecture. At night, you can take a walk along the streets of Paraty and enjoy live music in any of the local restaurants.

Day 5: Bike Tour of Paraty - Brazilian Cooking Class

View of the mountains outside of Paraty
Secluded beach outside of Paraty

Today, you'll bike 9 miles (15 km) through the Atlantic Forest to Praia do Funil, a charming and uncrowded beach on Paraty Bay. On the way back, you can enjoy the views of the historic town by the sea, including a beautiful view of the Igreja Santa Rita dos Pardos Libertos, a beautiful little church with an attached museum.

In the evening, you take a cooking class and learn how to make some delicious Brazilian food. Just a short walk from your hotel in the historic center, you will meet your instructors and chefs. The cooking class is followed by a dinner that includes the dishes that you will prepare together with the group: an appetizer, a main course, a side dish, a salad, and a dessert. You'll also learn a special way to make Brazil's most famous drink: the caipirinha. Dinner ends with coffee and a tasting of aged cachaça from Minas Gerais.

Day 6: Free Day in Paraty

Overlooking Saco de Mamanguá
Overlooking Saco de Mamanguá 

Today, you will have the entire day free to schedule your own activities.

If you'd like to explore the best beaches around Paraty, we recommend booking a traditional boat tour around the beaches and islands in the Paraty Bay. You'll have plenty of time for diving and sunbathing, and you can choose to have lunch onboard the boat or in one of the excellent restaurants located on the islands.

For the more active and adventurous types, we recommend a full-day hike up the 1,443-foot (440 m) tall Sugarloaf Peak inside the Mamanguá Reserve. At the top, you'll be able to take in the unforgettable views of the whole region and the Saco de Mamanguá tropical fjord, one of only a few tropical fjords in the world.

Day 7: Depart via Rio de Janeiro

View of historic Paraty
View of historic Paraty

Say goodbye to Brazil! Enjoy your last morning in Paraty before your driver arrives and transfers you to the airport in Rio de Janeiro for your flight home. The drive to the airport is about four and a half hours long.

Map

Map of Discover Brazil: Rio de Janeiro & Paraty - 7 Days
Map of Discover Brazil: Rio de Janeiro & Paraty - 7 Days