If you've ever dreamed of spending quality time in Rio de Janeiro, this 11-day trip covers it all. Explore the charming streets of Santa Teresa and Old Rio as soon as you arrive. From there, enjoy unique adventures such as hang gliding over the city and kayaking in Guanabara Bay. You'll also learn about Carnival at Samba City, hike in Tijuca National Park, and boat to nearby tropical islands. Of course, there will be plenty of time to eat your way through some of the oldest districts and markets in the city.


  • Let a local guide show you the neighborhoods of Santa Teresa and Pereirão
  • Climb to see Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain for stunning views
  • Jump off a cliff to hang glide over the city and land near a picturesque bay
  • Learn about Carnival culture and try out Samba dancing in authentic costumes
  • Take a bike tour along Rio's gorgeous seafront while riding a comfortable cruiser

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Tour of Santa Teresa & Pereirão Favela Río de Janeiro
Day 2 Visit Christ the Redeemer & Sugar Loaf Mountain Río de Janeiro
Day 3 Discover Old Rio, Ginga Tropical Show Río de Janeiro
Day 4 Hang Gliding Over Rio, Tour of Two Brothers Peak & Vidigal Favela Río de Janeiro
Day 5 Carnival Experience, Samba by Night Río de Janeiro
Day 6 Full-Day Private Tour in Petrópolis Río de Janeiro
Day 7 Visit Tijuca National Park, Rio Kayaking Trip Río de Janeiro
Day 8 Rio City Bike Tour, Food Tour Río de Janeiro
Day 9 Day Trip to Tropical Islands Río de Janeiro
Day 10 Rio Botanical Garden Tour, Free Time Río de Janeiro
Day 11 Morning Beach Tour, Depart Rio  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janiero, Tour of Santa Teresa & Pereirão Favela

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro
Look for stunning bay views before touching down in Rio

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. The so-called "cidade maravilhosa" (marvelous city) is a sprawling harbor city famous for its beaches, festive culture, and raucous entertainment. On the transfer to your hotel, catch views of Mount Corcovado's iconic Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Cable cars transport visitors up its towering peak to enjoy expansive city views, which you'll experience tomorrow.

Once settled in your beachfront hotel, meet your guide in the lobby for a tour through the winding streets of Santa Teresa, Rio's most charming neighborhood. To get there, take the traditional tramway uphill, passing colonial houses and lush vegetation. At the top, you'll find popular bars and restaurants, workshops, and impressive street art, immersing you in an authentic and bohemian side of Rio. 

Next, you'll reach the quiet little favela of Pereirão. With your guide, learn its history, organization, and social issues. This peaceful favela looks like a small village in the heart of six million inhabitants, and you'll enjoy stunning views of Sugar Loaf and the Flamengo district from its heights. Descending through the favela on foot, visit the impressive Projeto Morrinho, a unique cultural project. You'll be amazed by this massive model of the favelas done with colorful bricks by the area's teens 20 years ago.

Day 2: Visit Christ the Redeemer & Sugar Loaf Mountain

The view from Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro
Climb to the top of Rio's iconic Christ the Redeemer

Today's guided tour covers some of Rio's most famous landmarks. First, you'll head to the top of Mount Corcovado to visit Christ the Redeemer, a 98-foot (30 m) statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the city below. Commissioned in 1920, it was built to symbolize the welcoming spirit of both Rio and Brazil. Once you arrive at the summit of the 2,310-foot (704 m) Corcovado and the base of this Art Deco statue, you'll be treated to panoramic views of Rio and beyond, from the southern beaches to Guanabara Bay and further north to the city of Duque de Caxias.

After descending Mount Corcovado, continue to the Urca neighborhood and the mouth of Guanabara Bay. You'll hop on a cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain here. This nearly 1,300-foot (396 m) mountain peak unsurprisingly gets its name because it resembles a mound of sugar. At its peak, you'll be greeted with a 360-degree view of the rainforest, beaches, cityscapes, and monuments that define Brazil's most famous coastal city. Upon completion of the tour, your guide will return you to your hotel, and the rest of your evening is free.

Day 3: Discover Old Rio, Ginga Tropical Show

Full-Day Private Tour through the Old Rio
 Climb Selaron's colorful tiled staircase in Old Rio

Today you'll get to know another side of the city by strolling through the streets of Old Rio. Visit the Modern Metropolitan Cathedral, Candelaria Church, Saint Benedict Monastery, Tiradentes Palace, Lapa dos Mercadores Church, and Plaza XV. Head back to Santa Teresa in the afternoon to see more historic buildings and elegant mansions. Grab a photo op at the famous Escadaria Selarón, where 215 colorful steps are decorated in mosaic tiles collected from more than sixty countries worldwide.

This evening, dip into Brazil's vibrant nightlife at the dynamic and interactive Ginga Tropical Show. The colors and sounds of Brazil come alive with a diversity of rhythms and dances from all across the country. The artists are native to the regions represented, chosen for their dedication to the arts and their pride in their origins.

Day 4: Hang Gliding Over Rio, Tour of Two Brothers Peak & Vidigal Favela

Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro
Experience the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of hang gliding over Rio

Prepare to get your adrenaline pumping this morning as you meet your driver and head to São Conrado Beach. From there, a Jeep will take you to Pedra da Gávea and the Pedra Bonita Ramp in Tijuca Forest National Park, where you'll prepare for a hang-gliding flight over Rio. Float over the city free of noise and vibrations, with only a soft tropical breeze on your face as you observe the spectacular scenery from above. As you approach the sea, you'll land on the beach at Praia do Pepino in São Conrado. After this exhilarating activity, you'll have boasting rights for life!

Later, take a guided tour of one of Rio's most-visited favelas. Located on Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain), take a trip up to the top of the Vidigal Favela. Starting with a walk along the seaside, your guide will share the history of the favelas. Once you reach Vidigal, hop in a van and ride along steep hillsides through the neighborhood's winding streets to the beginning of the Two Brothers Trail. From there, hike to the 2,165-foot (660 m) peak of Two Brothers Mountain, where you'll be rewarded with stunning city views. Then, you'll walk back down the mountain along Vidigal's many staircases.

Day 5: Carnival Experience, Samba by Night

Immerse yourself in the art of Carnival!
Sway to the music in a street samba circle tonight
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Immerse yourself in Carnival culture with a visit to Cidade do Samba (Samba City), where all the city's samba schools are located. With your guide, you'll learn about the Pimpolhos Project, which seeks to transform the community by training dance, production, music, and arts professionals. Discover the history of samba music, dance, and carnival parades, then put on some costumes, take pictures, and try out a bit of percussion and samba to feel the carnival atmosphere. Finally, after all that dancing, toast the end of your tour with a delicious caipirinha.

As darkness falls, continue your adventure with a guide as you enjoy the city's nightlife like a true carioca (Rio native). Sit back at an authentic neighborhood bar for drinks and typical Brazilian appetizers with a soundtrack of a street samba circle. After a few caipirinhas, visit the Lapa neighborhood, known for its nightlife, before returning to the hotel. 

Day 6: Full-Day Private Tour in Petrópolis

Full-Day Private Tour in Petrópolis
Take in the fresh air and colonial architecture in Petrópolis

Escape the city and spend the day exploring Petrópolis, a small colonial gem located just 44 miles (70 km) north of Rio. Once the retreat of the former emperor during the hottest months of the year, today you can breathe in the fresh, pure air of the mountains at more than 2,624 feet (800 m) above sea level.

Among other sites, you'll discover St. Peter's Cathedral of Alcântara, a neo-Gothic church shaped like a Latin cross dedicated to St. Peter, the city's patron saint. Visit the Imperial Museum of Brazil, located in the historical city center and housed in the summer palace of Emperor Peter II, then take a stroll along the Rua Tereza for some shopping.

Day 7: Visit Tijuca National Park, Rio Kayaking Trip

Monkey in Tijuca National Park
Spot toucans while hiking in Tijuca National Park

Lace up your hiking boots and meet your guide for a trek within the city limits. Tijuca, one of the world's largest urban rainforests, allows you to discover native plants and wildlife set on mountain slopes while hiking with a knowledgeable guide. Start with a visit to the botanical gardens and observe its diverse flora, then continue to the Vista Chinesa Gazebo and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Along the hike, you'll pass refreshing waterfalls and spot colorful birdlife and chattering monkeys among the canopy. 

After your jungle experience, descend from the mountain and head to the sea within Guanabara Bay. Meet your guide and hop in a tandem kayak with a partner to explore the city's shoreline from a different vantage point. On the water, you'll pass Fort São João and Fort Laje, and if water conditions are favorable, you'll visit Niterói, Cotunduba Island, or even Praia Vermelha (Red Beach)

Day 8: Rio City Bike Tour, Food Tour 

Half Day- Rio by Bike
Learn all about Brazil's culinary scene as you explore Rio's markets

Rise early to hop on a comfortable bike cruiser and explore more of Rio on two wheels. Pedal to Leblon Beach along a relatively easy, flat route, varying in distance from 10-15 miles (15-25 km). Pass by the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which connects to the ocean and the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Enjoy beautiful ocean views of these landmarks and take advantage of the many photo-ops before you return to your hotel.

Later on, tour Rio with your tastebuds! In the company of your guide, visit farmers' markets, traditional restaurants, and bars only known by the locals. Learn about five or six neighborhoods' art, history, culture, and architecture as you eat and drink. The menu includes traditional food and drinks such as tapioca crepes, cheese bread, coxinha (chicken croquettes), cachaça (fermented sugar cane juice), brigadeiro cake, and craft beer. You can also choose one typical meal. Possible neighborhoods you'll visit include Santa Teresa, Olympic Boulevard, Urca, and Flamengo. 

Day 9: Day Trip to Tropical Islands

Copacabana Beach
Discover Patience Beach as you wander on Mangaratiba Island

Pack your swimsuit because today you'll take a day trip to Itacuruça, located on an island 1.5 hours away from Rio called Mangaratiba. It's active in fishing, tourism, and agriculture and you must cross Sepetiba Bay in a Saveiro schooner to get there. During the trip, you will enjoy the romantic views of the tropical green islands, and keep an eye out for dolphins, colossal fish, parrots, turtles, and poisonous stingrays.

On the way, the schooner will make a stop to allow you to swim in the ocean. You will have a delicious lunch on the island, take a walk, swim in the bay or the pool, and return to the schooner that will take you back to Rio in the late afternoon.

Day 10: Rio Botanical Garden Tour, Free Time

Rio Botanical Garden Tour
Look for the imperial palm trees as you enter the Rio Botanical Garden 
This morning meet your guide to visit the Rio Botanical Garden. This magnificent 338-acre (137 ha) garden is over 200 years old, featuring a half-mile (750-m) avenue of 134 impressive royal palms and more than 7,000 types of plants. You can see orchids, bromeliads, cacti, giant bamboo trees, and carnivorous plants, among many others. The most famous one is Victoria, a giant water lily floating on a pond that is capable of sustaining the weight of a 5-year-old child. Monkeys are sometimes visible during the visit, and there are always plenty of birds flying over the trees, especially toucans.

After the tour, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Rio as you stroll along the iconic beachside promenade, snapping photos of the distinctive sidewalks and admiring the stunning beaches of Zona Sul. You could also visit the lush English-style gardens at Parque Lage. Later, stroll along Ipanema or Copacabana Beach to enjoy the sunset. This evening you'll find plenty of great restaurants in the city where you can enjoy a traditional Brazilian dinner.

Day 11: Morning Beach Tour, Depart Rio

Until next time, Rio!
What better way to savor your final hours in Rio than to spend it on the beach? You'll spend time with your guide at the main beaches, such as Copacabana, Leme, and Ipanema, enjoying their fine sand and refreshing coconut water. Jump in the ocean and soak up these final moments of your trip. Later, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Ultimate Rio de Janeiro Active Adventure - 11 Days
Map of Ultimate Rio de Janeiro Active Adventure - 11 Days