Rio de Janeiro
Urban Exploration

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Our most recommended Rio de Janeiro Urban Exploration

Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha Favela Walking Tour with Local Guide

1. Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha Favela Walking Tour with Local Guide

Start your favela tour with a pickup from one of the meeting points in Copacabana or Ipanema beach. Journey to the Rocinha Favela for the start of a walking tour at approximately 2:20 PM. Follow your local guide through the favela and learn more about what it is like to live there. Rio's favelas are a big part of city life, and the non-intrusive tour aims to educate you in a way that pays respect to the locals. In addition, part of the cost of your tour is contributed to the community to help them build a better future. Get a different perspective about life in Rio de Janeiro, and benefit from insider tips from a local guide.

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Favela Santa Marta Tour with a Local Guide

2. Favela Santa Marta Tour with a Local Guide

Take an opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in the favelas on this guided tour. Your guide is a local from Santa Marta, who will be able to share you with you an authentic perspective of the beautiful favela they call home. Using the Santa Marta cable car, your guide will take you to the top of the favela. From here you will get to witness one of the best panoramic views of the city. Spot Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, Praia de Botafogo, Lagoa Rodrigues de Freitas and the entire district of Botafogo. Then explore the streets and alleys held dear by both residents and the many famous visitors to Favela Santa Marta alike, from Queen Elizabeth II to Michael Jackson. Stroll through the favela, seeing the best sights and stopping at many of the local artisan shops along the way.

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Christ the Redeemer, Selarón Stairs & Sugar Loaf Sunset Tour

3. Christ the Redeemer, Selarón Stairs & Sugar Loaf Sunset Tour

Begin your tour with a visit to the Corcovado Mountain. After a 20-minute drive to the base of the statue of Christ the Redeemer through the Tijuca Forest, enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding landscape. This 710-meter-tall (about 2,330 feet) statue is Brazil's main monument and a World Heritage Site. Next, head towards the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro and Selarón Stairs before reaching Sugar Loaf by sunset. Located in the Urca neighborhood, it is one of Rio's icons. Board a cable car and ride to the Urca Mount station before continuing on in a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf. At the top, enjoy the beautiful and panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world while overlooking the Copacabana Beach from the top of Sugar Loaf.

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Rio De Janeiro: Half-Day Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

4. Rio De Janeiro: Half-Day Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

Explore Rio’s largest favela on a half-day walking tour of Rocinha, the largest favela (shantytown) in South America. Organized by local, English speaking guides and favela hosts, the walking tour is respectful and non-intrusive to the residents. Subject of the movie "City of God," Rio’s favelas have fallen victim to unfortunate stereotypes. In order to correct this, and show you the true Rio de Janeiro, the favela tour will let you see and experience how daily life happens away from the sensationalist headlines. While other favela “zoo-tours” drive around in jeeps, you will get to walk the streets in small groups (average of 10 people) and meet the locals to hear their stories. Learn the history of the favela and its social and economic challenges. The tour cost also includes a monetary contribution to the favela community.

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Rio de Janeiro: Vidigal Favela Tour and Two Brothers Hike

5. Rio de Janeiro: Vidigal Favela Tour and Two Brothers Hike

Experience the mystique of the Vidigal favela and discover a peaceful community that emerged in the city around 1940. Get stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean from one of the most interesting locations in Rio de Janeiro. Start your hike in Vidigal, and experience the favela like a resident. Use the transport system that circulates the neighborhood and rub shoulders with the locals. Follow your guide in a group through the forest and head to the first viewpoint. Look down at the favela of Rocinha and see one of Latin America's largest slums. Continue to the next viewpoint for a breathtaking view of Pedra da Gávea and Pedra Bonita. See Corcovado in the other direction before going to the summit of Two Brothers hill (Morro Dois Irmaos). From there, it's possible to see all the famous beaches of Rio spread out before you, including Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana. Hike for approximately 4.5 hours to turn your favela tour into a true adventure. Experience the warmth of the Vidigal community and get a better understanding of the social divisions in Rio de Janeiro. 

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Rio de Janeiro: Guided Bike Tours in Small Groups

6. Rio de Janeiro: Guided Bike Tours in Small Groups

Choose from 3 different itineraries to best fit your time in Rio and your preferences. Explore some of the city's highlights on a small-group bike tour with an expert guide and learn about the historical background of the city. • 3-Hour Urban Tour: Praia Vermelha, Botafogo & Lagoa Visit several of Rio's famous sites and some of its traditional neighborhoods on this tour that focuses on the southern part of the city. Start at Copacabana beach to experience where locals spend a large part of their social life. From there, bike to Sugarloaf Mountain to view its imposing vastness up-close, and make a stop at nearby Vermelha Beach, a tiny oasis of quietness. Next, pedal to the lively neighborhood of Botafogo to get a glimpse of the back lanes of Rio. This stretch of the bike tour will give you a closer look at how real Cariocas live when they’re not on the beach. Finally, head to Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and admire its surrounding green hillsides and fancy neighborhoods. • 4-Hour Panoramic Tour: Botafogo, Flamengo Park & Old Rio Get a panoramic perspective of Rio on this tour that goes from Copacabana to the shores of the Bay of Guanabara, Lapa, and Rio’s historical center. Making use of the new cycle paths, bike through the lively backstreets of iconic neighborhood Copacabana to Botafogo. There, pass by Rio’s “celebrity” cemetery, São João Batista, the resting place of several Brazilian presidents, writers, singers, actors, and renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Pedal on to the Bay of Guanabara along the beach of Flamengo, the site of the first European settlement after the discovery of the city. Continue to the historical center of Rio, with stops at Cinelândia and the bohemian neighborhood Lapa, well-known for its nightlife and the Selarón steps, 250 steps covered in more than 2000 tiles from different countries. On the way back, cycle along the paths that wind through Flamengo Park, designed by famous Brazilian landscaper, Burle Marx. The last stretch of the tour will pass along Copacabana beach. 7-Hour Ultimate Tour: Urban Tour + Panoramic Tour + Lunch Discover the best of Rio de Janeiro in just one day. As well as exploring the popular South Zone, famous for the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, pedal through less well-known but equally fascinating neighborhoods such as Botafogo and Urca. After taking these in, head to the old city center where you’ll stop in the Bohemian quarter of Lapa. Take a step back to Rio's colonial past at the historic Cinelândia Square, and visit Jorge Selarón’s psychedelically decorated staircase to see how art can be truly public in this city. Savor a typical Brazilian lunch — included in the tour — at a local restaurant. The last stretch of the cycle tour passes by the beautiful lake, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, surrounded by hills clad with lush Atlantic rainforest. Last, soak up lots of great views of Rio’s most famous landmarks, the Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer.

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Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

7. Santa Teresa & Lapa With Tram Ride And Selarón Steps

Begin your tour at Downtown (“Centro”), where you will get the tram (“bondinho”) to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. You will drive over the Arcos da Lapa, the aqueduct used to connect water from Santa Teresa to Downtown and one of Rio’s most traditional postcards. At Santa Teresa, you will experience an interesting local atmosphere. Walk through the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a bucolic area in Rio de Janeiro. Located on a hillside, Santa Teresa has become a district of cultural interest because of its architectural value and prime location, famous for its winding, narrow cobblestone streets and a favourite spot for artists and tourists. A flair similar to Montmartre, in Paris. You will visit the Ruins Park, a public park with an art gallery built around the ruins of a mansion. (Please note that Ruins Park is closed on Sundays.) Take a minute to enjoy the city’s landscape, in particular the Downtown area and the Sugarloaf Mountain. Up next, you will walk down the colorful Selarón Steps, one of Rio’s landmarks, and arrive at the district of Lapa, the zone with the most traditional nightlife. Take a stroll in the Passeio Público, the oldest public park in South America, to reach Cinelândia, a lively spot in Rio thanks to its bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Among many remarkable constructions in the area, you will notice the Theatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro’s most traditional theatre and opera house, as well as the Biblioteca Nacional, Brazil’s most important library. Your last stop will be at Confeitaria Colombo, a permanent member of all must-see cafés rankings around the world. Enjoy the opulent art nouveau decoration with huge stained glass, tiles, and mirrors imported from France, Portugal, and Belgium. You can finish your tour tasting one of the Brazilian traditional snacks – such as the coxinha de frango (‘little chicken thigh’) – or desserts – such as the brigadeiro (‘brigadier’) in what was one of Rio de Janeiro’s most prestigious places at the beginning of the 20th Century. (Please note that Confeitaria Colombo is closed on Sundays.)

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Rio de Janeiro: Private Full-Day Highlights Tour

8. Rio de Janeiro: Private Full-Day Highlights Tour

Visit Rio's top attractions on this guided tour. You will be picked up at your accommodation by your professional, English-speaking guide and start the full-day adventure by visiting one of the 7 wonders of the modern world: Christ the Redeemer. You will travel through a rainforest to reach it then, after a photo op at the awe-inspiring statue, you will head to visit to the Maracanã Stadium to see the site of the 2016 Olympics. Then, on to the Sambodromo where Rio’s Carnival competition takes place. You can take photos with the costumes and learn from your guide about Brazilian Carnival culture. Your guide will take you through the historic centre to discover Colombo Bakery, opened in 1894, it still preserves its Art Nouveau decor. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is next up, a masterpiece of modern art famous for its unusual architecture, then the Lapa neighborhood -where the old aqueduct Lapa Arches is located. The final locations will be Selaron Staircase – 215 colorful steps, one of the most fascinating and original staircases in the world - and Sugar Loaf mountain. You will head here by takeing the cable car from Urca hill up to the top. This unique rock formation also offers a fun way to reach its summit, enjoying views out over Rio and its surroundings. This truly is an all-inclusive tour, one wherein you can experience the best of the city.

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Rio de Janeiro: Sugar Loaf & Corcovado Private Day Tour

9. Rio de Janeiro: Sugar Loaf & Corcovado Private Day Tour

Start your private Rio de Janeiro adventure with a drive along the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Go to Corcovado Station and ride to the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue by train. Relax on the 20-minute ride through the Tijuca Forest, and get a preview of the wonderful landscape that awaits you. Upon arrival at the top of Corcovado, get a meet and greet at the main monument of Brazil and marvel at the 710-meter statue of Christ with his arms outstretched. Enjoy unparalleled views of the city and surrounding countryside from Rio de Janeiro's most strategic viewpoint. Follow your guide as they point out Guanabara Bay, the city of Niteroi and other highlights, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, the Botanical Garden, the Jockey Club and the Tijuca National Park. Look further towards Copacabana, Botafogo, Flamengo and the famous Sugar Loaf mountain. Descend Corcovado and continue your tour with an external view of the Maracanã Stadium, Mario Filho (which staged two World Cups and one Olympic Games). Visit the Sambódromo, the famous parade ares of Rio's carnival. Enter the Metropolitan Cathedral to observe its impressive and unusual architecture. Go to the brightly-colored Selarón Steps in Lapa, one of the most visited landmarks in Rio de Janeiro. Take time to lunch at a restaurant of your choice (not included). Head to the Urca neighborhood to ride the cable car to the top of the mountain in 2 stages. Board the cable car to Urca Mount, 224 meters above sea level, and then continue to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain, 395 meters above sea level. Here, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful panoramic views of the city before you return via the beaches of Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana en route to your hotel drop off.

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Rio de Janeiro: Museum of Tomorrow and Olympic Boulevard

10. Rio de Janeiro: Museum of Tomorrow and Olympic Boulevard

After pickup from your accommodation begin your tour at the Museum of Tomorrow, one of the most highly rated attractions in Brazil. Admire the architecture of the museum from the exterior as you explore the reflective pool and gardens. Enter the building and see the main exhibit, created by physicist and cosmologist Luiz Alberto Oliveira.  The museum studies the future of the world and its possibility for transformation. Explore the five major areas: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow, and Now. Marvel at the experiments and experiences that encourage you to consider the fundamental questions of existence. After exiting the museum, continue to the Olympic Boulevard. The walls measure an area of almost 3,000 square meters in total and were painted for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Get up close to the Ethnicities Mural by Eduardo Kobra, one of the world’s largest piece of graffiti art.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro

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What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 938 reviews

We had a great tour with Ricardo! He gave us lots of interesting information about the old part of Rio and Downtown. We learned a lot. The Museum of Tomorrow was just awesome and impressive. It was the best museum I’ve ever visited. C2RioTours was extremly reliable and punctual when it came to the pickup and dropoff at the hotel. Thanks to Ricardo for being such a great guide. We enjoyed very much☺️

The favelas are part of Brazil and immersing yourself in their breasts for a few hours is really a must to understand their history.

Edmundo was fantastic and we highly recommend. We took our 10 year old son and we felt completely safe the entire time.

Our guide tour was amazing he speak several languagues and make sure everyone hada good time

It was a great experience, the guide was terrific. A Must if you are in Rio