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Rio de Janeiro Tours

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The 10 Best Rio de Janeiro Tours

1

Iconic Christ the Redeemer Tour

If you only do one thing in Rio, make it a trip to Christ the Redeemer. This iconic statue sits high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city, keeping watch over the inhabitants. You can appreciate the monument from afar, but for the full experience, many Rio de Janeiro tours will take you right up to the viewpoint.

These popular Rio city tours transport you up the mountainside to the base of the statue. You can travel by van on the hairpin road or take the train if you fancy something more leisurely. Either way, you’ll be greeted at the top by panoramic scenes of Rio de Janeiro. 

This famous Art Deco statue is 30 meters high, so standing beside the feet of Christ feels humbling. Head to the viewing platform to admire the city from above – from here you can see the whole Guanabara Bay.

For something extra epic, take a helicopter tour past Christ the Redeemer. You’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Rio’s most recognized sights while watching the city unfold below. 

2

Sugar Loaf Mountain Tours in Rio

After Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain is probably the second most-visited attraction in Rio de Janeiro. This unusually shaped peak is a UNESCO World Heritage site and can be visited by cable car. The journey up is just as dramatic as the destination. 

During the ride, you’ll enjoy sweeping views across the city towards Corcovado Mountain. This is a great vantage point for harbor views too. Your ticket also gives you access to Praça dos Bondes where you’ll discover more about the cable car’s history.

Up the romance with a sunset trip to see the city awash with gold and orange tones. Often combined with a visit to Christ the Redeemer, these excursions are the perfect evening activity. You’ll ascend Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car in time to see day turn to dusk.

Feeling energetic? Then hike up Sugar Loaf Mountain instead of using the cable car. It’s a challenging trek with scrambling and climbing, but you’ll get to see parts of the peak that few others ever experience. 

3

Copacabana Bike Tours in Rio

The crescent-shaped Copacabana Beach is vast, stretching for over 4 kilometers along the coast of Rio de Janeiro. It’s hot work exploring on foot, so harness the power of two wheels for a relaxed cycle along the promenade instead. 

Taking a bike tour around the city is a fun way to tick off several sights. You’ll be traveling with a local guide who will know all the best cycle routes in Rio. Just remember to keep slapping on that sunscreen.

Trips are done in small groups to give the experience a personal touch. After pedaling beside bustling Copacabana, you’ll wind your way along Ipanema Beach. You can pause for photos of the dazzling white sand on the way.

Some of the most popular routes on these Rio de Janeiro tours include extra adventures out of the saddle. You can hike up to the summit of Two Brothers Hills for dramatic views of Christ the Redeemer and the Tijuca Forest. A drive through the Vidigal favela is also on the agenda. 

4

Sunset Cruise in Rio de Janeiro

If you think Rio looks good from above, just wait until you see it from the water. For the ultimate seafaring adventure, take a boat tour around Guanabara Bay and experience a different side of this beloved city. A sunset voyage just takes the dreaminess to the next level.

These cruises are perfect for escaping the traffic-clogged streets and discovering Rio at a gentler pace. From your seat on board, you can gaze up at the mighty peaks of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado. Christ the Redeemer looms large even from this distance.

As you glide around the bay at sunset, watch as the city springs to life. The lights come on, the bars begin to buzz and the beaches draw people in for impromptu parties. Witnessing all this from the water adds an extra layer of magic.

Snacks and drinks including alcoholic beverages are often included in the price of your ticket. So, sit back and relax on deck beneath the setting sun, and toast the trip with your fellow travelers. 

5

Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Discover the real Rio on one of these eye-opening walking tours. You’ll delve deep into the Rocinha favela district with a local guide, to learn about the lives of the residents. These Rio de Janeiro tours are conducted safely and respectfully in a non-intrusive manner.

As you wander around the favela, you’ll meet some of the locals who are often happy to share their stories. You will discover how there’s much more to these urban communities than what you hear about on the news.

Part of the tour fees are funneled back into the area to help improve living conditions and reduce crime. It’s a unique way to donate to a good cause while enjoying an immersive day out.

Taking a free walking tour is a fun option where the onus is on the guide to provide an insightful experience. The excursions don’t have a fixed price, but it’s polite to tip your tour leader at the end. Just give what you think the trip was worth to you.

6

Selaron Steps Tour in Rio

The colorful Selaron Steps run through the Lapa neighborhood and are one of the most photographed attractions in Rio. You may have seen pictures of the striking stairs on social media – it’s the sort of place where posing for selfies is obligatory. 

This unusual city feature was created by Jorge Selaron, a Chilean artist who took inspiration from his world travels. Using ceramic tiles, he brought the tired old stairway by his house to life, self-funding the project by selling paintings. The steps have since become a bit of a tribute to the people of Brazil.

Once word got out about this phenomenal stairway, visiting travelers would gift Selaron with tiles, to help him complete his mission. They often brought unique ceramic offerings from their own countries too. See if you can spot something from where you live as you climb up and down the steps.

Several of these Rio de Janeiro tours also include other landmarks for a full day out. Lapa neighborhood, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Santa Teresa are frequent favorites.

7

Hiking in Tijuca Rainforest

The Tijuca Forest National Park carpets the mountains that surround Rio de Janeiro. These lush green slopes are full of hidden waterfalls and winding paths that take intrepid adventures deep into the wild. If you’re into the outdoors, you won’t want to miss this place. 

There are several hiking trails in the park, some take in mountains while others concentrate on exploring the remote valleys. The terrain can be steep and rugged, so a decent level of fitness is advised. Both group and private experiences are available. 

At key points during your walk, the canopy opens to reveal jaw-dropping views of Rio. If you’re up for a challenge, the Pedra da Gavea trail guides you up a world-famous monolith that boasts sweeping panoramas from the summit. For something easier, choose the Pedra Bonita route for rainforest immersion and far-reaching vistas.

Head to Rio’s Botanical Gardens after your hike for even more nature. Here, you’ll discover a spectacular display of native vegetation, including the famous waterlilies from the Amazon Rainforest.

8

Maracana Stadium Football Fans Tour

Football fans will love these sporty Rio de Janeiro tours. The Maracana Stadium is a prominent feature on areal panoramas of the city, and it’s become an adored local icon. You can appreciate the vast scale of the stadium from the viewing platform at Christ the Redeemer.

The Maracana Stadium is one of the largest in the world. Everything from the Olympics to the FIFA World Cup has been hosted here. This is your chance to experience the venue up close and see what the fuss is all about.

Explore behind the scenes on a guided visit and walk in the footsteps of football heroes like Pelé and Zico. You’ll stroll down the tunnel pretending for a moment that you’re part of the team. Don’t miss the locker rooms and the interactive museum before you leave. 

For the full experience, head to the stadium on match day. You’ll watch a game and soak up the buzzing atmosphere alongside passionate Brazilian fans. Your guide will help explain anything you don’t understand.

9

Rio Jeep Tours to Telegraph Stone

You may not have heard of the Telegraph Stone, but you’ll have seen pictures of it. This is the famous rock that juts out over the Tijuca Forest and golden beaches just outside Rio. If you get your angles right, you can take illusion photos of gravity-defying poses to impress your friends. 

The journey to the Telegraph Stone, or Pedra do Telégrafo is just as thrilling as the rock itself. You’ll be traveling in a jeep along tropical trails, stopping to enjoy the coastal scenery along the way.

The highlight of your day will be the hike up to Telegraph Rock. This usually takes around an hour, depending on the pace of the group. As you catch your breath at the summit, spend a few moments enjoying the views of the famous Restinga de Marambaia beach. 

Then it’s time for some posing. Whether you want to hang one-handed from the rock or show off your yoga moves on top of it, your imagination is the only limit. Elevate your photography game by heading up at sunset.  

10

Angra dos Reis Day Tour from Rio

If you want to escape the heat of the city, then why not take a day trip to Angra dos Reis? This peaceful region is just a couple of hours from Rio yet feels a million miles away from the bustle. 

Famed for its emerald islands and turquoise ocean, this part of the Brazilian coastline is the stuff of dreams. Whether you fancy snorkeling with sea turtles or catching some rays on the white beaches, Angra dos Reis offers a slice of paradise. 

After your land transfer, you’ll jump on a boat and head out to the islands. Stop at Ilha Grande to explore the beaches and swathes of rainforest that line the shores. Keep an eye out for wildlife – humpback whales are sometimes spotted from here. 

Enjoy a refreshing dip in the blue waters of Lagoa Azul, where brightly colored tropical fish make curious swimming companions. Back on board you can dry out in the sun and tuck into a delicious buffet lunch. Meal backdrops don’t get better than this.

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Planning your visit to Rio de Janeiro

Discover our complete guide to visiting Rio de Janeiro.

About Rio de Janeiro

The sizzling seaside city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most-visited destinations in Brazil. Known for its iconic landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio has a lot to offer the international traveler. Whether you’re here for the nightlife, the jungle hikes or the beaches, it’s easy to fall in love with Rio. 

Good to know before arriving

For peace of mind when it comes to safety, Rio de Janeiro tours are the best way to explore. You’ll be with a local guide who knows all the best places to visit, and the areas to avoid. Make sure you book ahead in peak season as places do fill up fast. 

Places and experiences that cannot be missed

If you’re only in Rio de Janeiro for a short time, then your focus will be on Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. The sandy beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema should follow swiftly behind. Yet once you’ve ticked off these iconic sights, there’s still plenty more to enjoy in the city.

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