Get ready to marvel at the most important icon of Rio de Janeiro and one of the winners of the "New 7 Wonders of the World" worldwide competition, in which more than 100 million votes were cast: the Corcovado Mountain and its “Christ the Redeemer” statue. Our expert local guide will also help you discover the off-the-beaten-path panoramic viewpoint “Dona Marta,” which most travelers do not get to see. This road less traveled offers amazing and unobstructed clear views to almost the entirety of the city (even on cloudy days when the views from the top of Corcovado Mountain are practically non-existent!). We’ll next drive through the Tijuca Tropical Forest, one of the main reasons why Rio was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Also we’ll visit Rio’s historic quarters and appreciate the urban beauty that has earned Rio the honor of having been declared the first World Capital of Architecture by the UNESCO and the Council of the International Union of Architects, as a recognition to the architectural treasures that show the city’s culture and history since the 16th century.
Our final experience as "Cariocas" (as locals from Rio are known) will be hopping aboard a "bondinho" (a very cute local tramway) that runs from the beautifully-preserved, historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa to the hip and bohemian Lapa neighborhood. This visit will include witnessing the largest sculpture in the world made by a single man, according to National Geographic: the Selaron Tiles staircase.
Our full day exploration of Rio kicks off as we head for the Corcovado Mountain. The summit of the mountain, where the "Christ the Redeemer" statue is located, offers some of the best panoramic views in Rio. However, as the location is high above the clouds, it’s not unusual for the view to be partially or even completely obstructed. For this reason, on our way up to Corcovado, we’ll first make a stop at Mirante Dona Marta, a large belvedere that stretches across some 600 feet (200 meters), resting just below the cloud level, that offers awe-inspiring 360- degree views of almost the entire city; beaches, forest, and natural lagoon. Ready your camera, so you can take home a slice of those memorable panoramic vistas!
This is one of our favorite panoramic outlooks and definitely an off-the-beaten-path experience, which complements the ascent to Corcovado itself. The ascent to Mirante Dona Marta can only be done by private car. Most travelers take the iconic red cogwheel train, and they not only miss this important attraction, but often times also suffer long and tedious lines while waiting to board. You can avoid this mistake, making the most out of your tour time enjoying the views!
After leaving Dona Marta, once we reach the summit of Mount Corcovado, at a height of over 2300 feet (700 meters), we’ll bear witness to an imposing view of the 125 feet (38 meters) tall “Christ the Redeemer” statue, right beside us! Finished in 1931, it was built to celebrate Brazil’s 100 years of independence from Portugal. From this privileged vantage point, we’ll also enjoy a breathtaking view of Rio’s neighborhoods, the beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Maracana Stadium (one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, where two FIFA World Cup Finals were played), and Guanabara Bay; providing us with plenty of beautiful panoramic picture-taking opportunities. Upon our descent, we’ll briefly drive through the Tijuca Tropical Forest. This huge stretch of greenery, consisting mainly of tropical jungles, mountains, and cascades, is the largest natural reserve in the world within an urban setting. This forest is the result of the first major reforestation in mankind’s history: after almost a complete depletion of the forest in the 17th and 18th centuries to make way for sugarcane and coffee plantations, Emperor Dom Pedro II, in a massive undertaking during the 19th century, had hundreds of thousands of seedlings planted by hand. This huge effort resulted in what is today the largest urban forest in the world!
We’ll head to the beautifully-preserved, historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Resting atop the slope of a hill, with cobblestone streets and picturesque architecture, it was here that the Portuguese imperial family built their estates and mansions, when Brazil became the seat of the Portuguese empire. Next, we’ll board a "bondinho", a cute tramway used by locals that has been recently fully-renovated. It’s among the longest-running street railway lines in the world, operating since 1877! After our ride, we’ll find ourselves in the neighborhood of Lapa, where we’ll stop at the Selaron Tiles, a 215-step staircase that is the largest sculpture in the world ever to be built by a single man, according to National Geographic. This colorful and quirky staircase is a most unique and colossal work of art. It’s the labor of love of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selaron. He spent 26 years developing this staircase and improving upon his masterpiece, with over 2000 ornate tiles given to Selaron by visitors from 60 different countries, and 300 tiles painted by his own hand. Tourists could find Selaron welcoming them to his staircase, as he practically lived there day and night.
To top off our day, we’ll take a leisurely stroll around Rio’s historic center, where we’ll check out the main landmarks of the area, some of which earned the city the title of first World Capital of Architecture, granted by the UNESCO and the Council of the International Union of Architects.
Our tour concludes with a drive back to our hotel, after our off-the-beaten-path experience and immersion into the vibrant Rio de Janeiro.
Note: Since you’ll be doing this tour with your own private vehicle and guide, you’ll be able to enjoy each attraction at your own pace; making all the stops you want, all the while enjoying personalized assistance and care from your expert guide. You’ll also enjoy more convenient and faster transfers to and from your hotel, as there will be no other travelers to pick up or drop off at other hotels.
Important: the tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide, in order to optimize your tour experience. As well, we’ve designed this tour so as to keep waiting times at a minimum for reaching the summit of Corcovado, but please bear in mind that during the high season, wait times are not unusual.
Duration: full day (about 8 hours).
Guide: private guide.
Vehicle: private vehicle.
Includes: admission ticket to the Corcovado mountain.