FULL-DAY SUGAR LOAF & CORCOVADO MOUNTAIN TOUR
Along with your guide you will be driven through several different districts of the city, arriving at Cosme Velho Station for a cog-wheel tram ride to the top of the Corcovado Mountain and its famous statue of Christ, the Redeemer. After a tasty Brazilian barbeque lunch, you will then go through a tunnel that crosses the Corcovado Mountain to arrive in Rio de Janeiro's downtown, where the Sambodromo (Carnival takes place here!) and the Cathedral are located. You will pass through the Lapa District, towards the Flamengo Park and Urca to climb the mountain by cable car. Lunch is included.
HALF-DAY RIO & SUGAR LOAF TOUR
You will be driven to "Praia Vermelha" (Red Beach) and take the two stage car up to the top of Sugar Loaf (270 meters high), which grants the entrance to Rio's harbor and Guanabara Bay. The Italian-made cable car holds 80 passengers and each of the two stages takes two minutes. The first stage is 170 meters up to Morro da Urca, where you will find a restaurant, an amphitheater, and a heliport. The second stage goes up to Sugar Loaf itself, thus named for its resemblance to the loaves of sugar used by the Portuguese at the time of the city's discovery. Afterward, you will continue to Rio de Janeiro's downtown, where the Sambodromo (Carnival takes place here!) and the Cathedral are located.
SUGAR LOAF HIKING & CLIMBING TOUR
This dramatic granite rock is a well-known Rio landmark, and also an over-explored tourist attraction. Instead of standing in line to ride the aerial cable car with dozens of visitors, why not try a unique experience to reach the summit on foot? The hike begins with a stroll along a beautiful shoreline pedestrian path at the foot of Sugar Loaf, from which you will hike about 30 minutes up a rocky mountain slope to reach a wonderful viewpoint of Guanabara Bay and Niterói city. At this point, your guide will provide you with full instructions and climbing gear to face a 30 minute scramble and an 80 foot rock climb. Always supported by a bilingual climbing instructor, the climb is rated as “easy” (5.5) and is perfect for a first time climber. You will hike an additional hour on a rocky trail to reach the top of the mountain with amazing views of Rio’s shoreline, mountains, and the famous Copacabana Beach. The reward for your accomplishment is to enjoy one of the best views of Rio and relax at the snack bar with the other cable car tourists. On the way down, you will take the cable car to Urca Hill, and then hike down a 30-minute forest trail back to sea level.
RIO BY NIGHT – SAMBA SHOW WITH OPTIONAL DINNER
You will be met at your hotel and transferred to a Rio restaurant for a dinner of typical Brazilian barbeque. See the lights and sights of the city as you are driven to the restaurant, including the Lagoa and the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain. After dinner, you will enjoy a typical samba show at one of Rio's finest show houses. For option without dinner you will transfer directly to the show venue.
RIO NIGHTLIFE TOUR
Depart your hotel by private car for Lapa. Rio is world famous for its music. If you wish to keep away from the touristy shows and really mix with the local audience to hear and dance to the best of our music, this is a perfect tour for you. There is music for all tastes in Rio, but the most interesting places for visitors are the bars in the old downtown area known as Lapa. Every night, even on week days, you will find a wide variety of talented musicians playing live Brazilian music in at least one of its many bars. Lapa was a traditional bohemian part of the city in the 1960s and 70s, with good music, especially samba. The region was abandoned for years, until a recent boom brought the area back to Rio’s nightlife scene. The first of the new music venues opened in 2001, and they have continued to spread all over the area. A remarkable feature is the mixed audience that is attracted by samba and chorinho (a variety of samba). You will see people from ages 18 to 80, dancing and singing the old songs that everyone knows by heart. There is also an optional 30-minute walking tour of the neighborhood, during which you can check out some open bars to feel the atmosphere and head to the Rioscenarium samba club to hear and dance to a live music show!
TIJUCA NATIONAL PARK HIKING, CORCOVADO, & SANTA TERESA
A full-day adventure in Rio. First, head out for the Tijuca National Park. Located in the “heart of town,” the Tijuca National Park is known as the largest urban forest on Earth. The city of Rio de Janeiro surrounds its huge mountains covered with tropical vegetation and dramatic granite rocks, forming a unique backdrop for the beaches and city of Rio. Along with your guide, visit the park's best viewpoints, attractions, and hike up to Tijuca Peak (Rio's highest point at 3300 feet), which takes about 2 1/2 hours.
After exploring the park, you will take the cable car to the summit of Corcovado Mountain. Sitting atop Corcovado Mountain is the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which has been declared one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World” and is considered Rio’s best view. After returning down on the cable car, you will have time to enjoy lunch (not included) in the charming district of Santa Teresa where you and your guide can travel back in time by exploring its hilly cobblestone streets, old construction from the 19th-century, interesting museums, and the Selaron stairs.
TIJUCA FOREST TOUR
Set off by Jeep for a tour of the Tijuca Forest, a planted rainforest in the heart of Rio and the world's largest urban forest. The Tijuca Forest is home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, many of which are threatened by extinction and found only in the Atlantic Rainforest. After all the original forest was destroyed to make space for coffee farms, Tijuca was replanted by Major Manuel Gomes Archer in the second half of the 19th century as part of a successful effort to protect Rio's water supply. Tijuca Forest also contains the colossal sculpture of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain. Also among its impressive peaks is the Pedra da Gávea.
You will make stops at the pagoda-style gazebo at Vista Chinesa and Almirante Belvedere for superb photo opportunities, the Cascatinha Waterfall, and enter the National Park for a Jeep tour and guided trail hike. A stop will be made at a Floresta restaurant for lunch. You will return to your hotel driving along the magnificent beaches.
BOTANICAL GARDENS & RIO CITY TOUR
You will be met at your hotel where you will set off with your private guide for a half day tour of the Rio Botanical Gardens. This exuberant botanical garden was created in 1808 by the Portuguese prince regent Dom João VI. An ecological sanctuary, its collection includes the exotic Orchidary with 600 different species, a medicinal plant garden, aquatic plants, imperial palms, lagoons with water lilies, and pau-brasil (Brazil wood). The tour will continue through the elegant residential area of Lagoa, the Jockey Club, Botafogo, Glória, downtown, Flamengo Park with its 120 hectares reclaimed from the Bay, and the gardens projected by famous Brazilian landscaper architect Burle Marx. Lunch is included at a restaurant.
The favelas first appeared 106 years ago in the Rio district of Morro da Providencia. They were built for the surviving soldiers of the War of the Straws, as gratitude for their services to Brazil. In 1948, the first official census of the favelas listed the presence of 105 neighborhoods housing 138,837 residents, accounting for 7% of the population of Rio de Janeiro. Built around the edge of Brazilian cities, favelas are underdeveloped, overcrowded settlements, many of which create their own organizations and become their own small communities. Rio now consists of over 500 different favelas and with a third of the city’s population living in these towns, the socio-economic differences between the favelas and the city of Rio are very apparent. However, in recent years, the favelas surrounding Rio have become more urbanized with the building ofsome larger houses, the installation of electricity, running water, and an increase in proper sanitation practices.
The focus of this Jeep tour is to show the joy, solidarity, and openness of the communities and their residents. During the tour, you will walk the streets and alleys of favelas such as Rocinha, Vila Canoas, and Santa Marta. You will also see many works of art created by the local residents that reveal the talent of the local artisans.
Depart for the city of Niteroi, located just 3 miles from Rio. The half-day afternoon tour starts at the 14 km mark of the Rio-Niterói Bridge. It will continue to the Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, built on a scenic viewpoint. The next stop is the Santa Cruz Fortress at the entrance of Guanabara Bay. You will visit the Fortress of Pico with a view of Rio Branco Fortress beach. Afterwards, you and your guide will continue along the coast to Camboinhas Beach, Itacoatiara Beach, and Itaipu.
You will depart in the morning from Rio for a full-day tour of Buzios, located approximately 115 miles northeast of Rio. Rio has some 20 beaches, each with different features and natural beauty. Buzios offers historical, cultural and ecological attractions. The city tends to maintain an average year-round temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Buzios offers visitors a tranquil and dynamic experience with varied activities, such as scuba diving and exciting nightlife. Armacao dos Buzios was originally a small fishing village populated by Tamois Indians and French pirates. The area became famous after the visit of the French actress, Brigitte Bardot, in the 1960s. Today, it is one of the most sophisticated resort areas in the country.
The transfers between Rio and Buzios take approximately 3 1/2 hours, each way. From the Buzios pier you will depart on a schooner tour with two stops for snorkeling. Services onboard include beverages, mineral water, caipirinhas, tropical fruits, and shower access.
Depart with your private guide for the mountain resort of Petropolis, located less than one hour from Rio de Janeiro. This lovely hillside resort was the summer residence of the former imperial family of Brazil. Along with your guide you will explore the lovely gardens and view the royal jewels at the Imperial Museum, then have time to visit the gothic Cathedral, the Santos Dumont House, and a chocolate factory. Lunch is included.
ANGRA DOS REIS TOUR
Transfer to Angra dos Reis. Along the way you will pass through the coastal cities of Itaguay, Itacuruca and Mangaratiba. The Angra dos Reis Bay is made up of 365 islands and 2000 beaches full of natural beauty. It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) approximately 96 miles from Rio. Angra dos Reis used to be one of the most important harbors on the Rio de Janeiro coast, where cargo ships from around the world, as well as slave ships from Africa, would dock. Angra dos Reis is also the location of Brazil's two only nuclear plants.
From Angra dos Reis, you will continue by boat to various coastal islands and stop for swimming and a buffet lunch. In the afternoon, you will return to Angra dos Reis and continue to Rio. Lunch is included.
ILHA GRANDE HIKING TOUR
If you like tropical beaches and hiking, the "Big Island" is the perfect place for you. Its area is about 200 sq km of mountains, jungle, historic ruins, and over 100 beaches with clear green water, all linked by well-kempt trails. Ilha Grande is located three hours south of Rio (two hours by car to Conceição do Jacarei & one hour by boat to the village of Abraão), in a region known as the “Costa Verde” (Green Coast), the largest remaining area in Brazil within the Atlantic Rain Forest. The island hosted Brazil's largest high-security prison (Brazil’s Alcatraz) during most of the 20th century – the main reason why it was kept relatively isolated and largely unspoiled. In 1994, the prison was closed and the island became a state park with no roads or cars, making it a paradise for hiking and boating.
The tour includes a 3-hour hike that visits four beaches: Palmas, Mangues, Pouso, and Lopes Mendes. You are welcome to go swimming at the beaches. You will return by boat to Abrãao for an included lunch. After lunch, you will embark on the 1-hour boat trip back to to Conceição do Jacarei followed by the 2-hour drive to return to Rio. You will arrive back at your hotel around 9:00pm.
You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred by private vehicle/driver to a selected shopping center where you will have approximately 2½ hours on your own to explore the shops. When you are ready to leave, you will be transferred back to your hotel.