Sophisticated and modern Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most beautiful cities and a major international vacation spot. Few people visit Brazil without spending a few days embarking on some Rio tours that reveal the many facets of this great city that spent nearly two hundred years as the nation's capital. This should help you plan your tours to Rio to make the most of the time you have.
Because the city is huge and sprawling, and offers so much for the visitor's enjoyment, it is highly recommended that your Rio de Janeiro tours give you a good overview and hit the major sites and attractions. If you're spending a few days sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro it's also a good idea to have some leisure time built in so that you can explore the diverse neighborhoods and many attractions in more depth at your own pace.
Any Brazil cruise that sails down the east coast of South America, will call for sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro and even these port stops are almost always a few days in duration in order to include as much as possible. Rio de Janeiro vacation packages that are part of Amazon expeditions, visits to Iguazu Falls, or a larger tour of South America will spend a few days here and have some tours to Rio included. These packages will also have leisure time allotted for independent exploration.
Another reason to take some organized Rio tours during your stay is the Rio de Janeiro weather. It's hot and humid, and the tropical sun can be merciless. Organized Rio de Janeiro tours will take you from place to place via comfortable air-conditioned transportation. Additionally, the sheer sprawling size of the metropolitan area means that Rio is not a city meant for aimless wandering like many of the compact, historic Europe city centers. It's a good idea to plan out your time in advance, deciding what things to do and see are for you, and then set out on your explorations in a vehicle.
So, just what are the Rio de Janeiro tours that should be included in your suggested itinerary? Start out with the internationally recognized landmarks of Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado, topped by the graceful Christ the Redeemer statue that dominates the city skyline and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. On many Rio de Janeiro tours it is not unusual to ascend both of these peaks (by cable car and nineteenth-century cog rail, respectively) in a single morning. Watch the Rio de Janeiro weather for clear skies for breathtaking panoramic views of the city with its backdrop of lush green mountains, the beaches, ocean, and beautiful Guanbara Bay. This might be followed by a luncheon schooner cruise on Guanabara Bay.
Many Rio tours will also include lunch or a snack at the beautiful and famous Columbo Tea House, a nineteenth-century fixture full of history. If you still have the energy after this full day of sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro you may want to book one of the Rio tours that includes a samba (the sultry signature dance of Brazil) lesson followed by a samba dinner show dining in a traditional Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) restaurant.
Historic Rio is another of the Rio tours that belongs on your suggested itinerary, revealing the rich colonial history and architecture that is so integral to Brazilian culture today. Colonial Rio actually is a fairly compact area that can be explored on foot, and when the sun and heat begin to get to you, duck into one of the many beautiful churches or museums that are major attractions, or find a taxi for transportation to a different site. Get a good map of this district, and start your explorations at Praca XV de Novembro (November 15 Square).
Then, of course, there are the Rio de Janeiro beaches that are famous all over the world. The ocean and beaches district comprises what can be considered a destination in itself, and some tours to Rio spend all of their time here. Some of the best Brazil beaches are the vibrant and colorful urban stretches of sand in Rio. Two of the most famous are Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach. Many of the best Rio hotels (including some of the finest hotels in the world) will be found along the miles of Rio beaches.
There's also a very green side of Rio. In spite of the huge area of metropolitan buildings and businesses, neon lights and nightlife, there are many lovely parks and wild green areas that are attractions both for visitors and locals. Some of your sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro should include a look into the natural side of the city.