Day 1 - Flight: London to Rio de Janeiro
Take an overnight flight from the UK to Rio de Janeiro, arriving the following morning.
Day 2 - Walking Introduction to Rio de Janeiro
Our guide will take you on a walk to introduce you to the area surroundings your hotel so that you can get your bearings upon arrival in a big city like Rio de Janeiro. You will walk along the promenade of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches in order to gain a feeling of Rio de Janeiro's city life - the people, the beach culture, the apartments of the city's affluent, all that makes up the typical "Carioca" life. This short introduction to Rio (up to one hour) will help with your orientation.
Day 3 - In-depth special Rio de Janeiro tour
We start this full day tour by visiting the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado Mountain from where you can admire the magnificent 360 degree view of Rio de Janeiro - the beautiful bay, the lagoon, the famous Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches and the massive granite peaks that dwarf the tall buildings. We will drive through the Tijuca Forest and past the Maracana Stadium (a stop there is optional) to the Sambodromo, the site of the famous carnival parades, to visit the museum.
Continue to the Bohemian Santa Teresa district once home to the rich and famous but where now the majestic views draw writers, musicians, artists with galleries. Its hillside location affords stunning views of Rio, and its cobbled streets add to its charming atmosphere. We stop for a lunch break (lunch is not included so that you can choose your own preference). In the old days, when Copacabana was but a swamp, the higher ground of Santa Teresa was the preferred area to live due to the cooler, fresh air so magnificent mansions were built, later to be out of favour, but many are now being renovated.
We continue to the historic city centre of Rio de Janeiro, where the Royal Family lived, and walk (2 to 3 hours) through the bustling streets and stop at the Confeitaria Colombo, one of the oldest coffee shops in Rio. Visit the Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, the Church of Sao Jose and Cultural Centre on Praca XV admiring the unique colonial architecture. Later in the afternoon we drive back to your hotel.
Day 4 - Rio Carnival Parade at the Sambodrome
Today is time for the main event. Following a day at leisure you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Rio de Janeiro 'Sambodrome' to enjoy the magnificent Carnival Parade. Here you will take your seat alongside around 90,000 other spectators, in anticipation of seeing what Rio's best Samba schools have put together during months of meticulous (and not to mention expensive) preparation. The concrete arena was designed by the great Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer and features a central runway down which the schools parade, each taking between an hour and 80 minutes to complete their show. Over that time, thousands of performers will pass-by in colourful and intricate costumes, dancing and drumming in unison in the wake of immense mind-boogling floats, to a constant soundtrack of live samba.
The parade starts after dinner and continues through the night and well into the following day. You may choose to stick out out the whole night with the other hardy Cariocas, or head back to your hotel, with transport available every hour from 23.00 onwards.
You would typically be seated in Sector 9, meaning your seats are allocated numbers and you get a great view of the heart of the action - the drummers pause here to show off their skills and impress the judges. However, you may prefer a different sector which, although seats are unallocated, could give you the chance to sit with locals for an even greater atmosphere.
To get even closer to the action, for a truly unforgettable experience, you may wish to consider a frisa - an open-air box located along the runway. These boxes each have six seats, though you can purchase individual seats within them. They provide a close-up view of the action and immerse you in the sights and sounds of the carnival.
Wherever you choose to sit, just don't forget your camera!
Map by NicoDavila
Find out everything you need to know about the festivities and plan your visit with our Rio Carnival guide.
Day 5-7 - Rio at leisure or optional tours/hikes
You will now have three days at leisure to relax, enjoy the city and pursue your own interests, though of course, you'll probably want to relax on the beach or take things easy on day 5, following your late night carnival experience. For the rest of your time, we have a number of optional tours and excursions that could enhance your trip and give you an even more in-depth perspective on different aspects of Rio de Janeiro.
We also have the following options for hiking in Rio de Janeiro:
Day 8 - Return Flight to the UK
Enjoy your morning and afternoon in Rio, before taking a return flight home in the early evening and arriving the following day.
Days 8-10 - Relax on Buzio's beaches
Transfer to the trendy beach resort of Buzios two hours north of Rio de Janeiro and staying at for three nights at your chosen hotel
Day 11 - Transfer to airport
Transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home.
Day 8 - Fly to Iguassu
You could choose to extend your trip with a two night stay at the breathtaking Iguassu Falls.
Day 9 - Tour the Iguassu Falls
Today you will enjoy a guided excursion to explore the natural beauty and lush tropical surroundings. Walks down to the foot of the Devil's Throat waterfall offers spectacular panoramic views and the opportunity t...
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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