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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema Beach, samba, carnival, and football galore; the reasons to visit are endless.

Our most recommended things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

1. Rio de Janeiro: 6-Stop Highlights of Rio with Lunch

Start your adventure with a pickup in the morning from hotels located in the South Zone and head towards your first stop at Christ the Redeemer.  Enjoy great jungle views in the minivan ride through the Tijuca Forest that surrounds the Corcovado Mountain. Reach the peak of the mountain and meet the statue of the Christ the Redeemer with its arms right open over the city. Admire the sweeping views and take breathtaking pictures. Head to a nice walk outside the Maracanã Stadium and find out more about the passion of the Brazilians for football. Learn about the samba tradition in Rio by visiting the Sambadrome, the place with the biggest Carnival parade on the planet. Marvel at the beautiful street art of the Selarón Steps, a gigantic mosaic work of the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. He started dedicating himself to decorate the stairs in the early 90s. The 250 steps have become a monument and an icon of Rio. Stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro to revel at the biblical passages on the stained-glass inside it, following a stop for lunch in an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. With the batteries recharged, there is still one place left.  Head to Urca neighborhood and marvel at the beauty of the Sugarloaf Mountain and be amazed by the cable ride to the top. From 220 meters above sea level take in the breathtaking 360-degree view of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Bay, the city of Niteroi, and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

2. Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf Cable Car Official Ticket

Discover the world-famous Sugarloaf Mountain with prebooked official tickets for the cable car, and explore one of Brazil's most popular attractions. Admire stunning views of Rio de Janeiro as you ride the cable car to the summit. Take incredible photos from the lookout point as you enjoy the panorama of the city and the ocean below. Make your own way to the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, and head directly to the ticket office to exchange your printed voucher. Board the next cable car up the mountain, riding in the fully-enclosed cabin as you take in panoramic views of the city, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay.  Disembark at the top, where you can spend as much time as you wish. There is a food court and restaurant at the summit where you can purchase snacks and drinks. Once you have finished exploring the summit, your ticket is valid for any returning cable car.

Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

3. Rio: Christ the Redeemer Official Ticket by Cog Train

Go all the way up to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer by the Corcovado Train. The train rides through a railway inside Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest in the world, making a unique view over Rio de Janeiro city. Enjoy an amazing ride on a train that takes you right up to the foot of the statue of The Christ, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and one of the most famous sights in Brazil. Besides admiring one of the most beautiful landscapes of the city, you will take a walk through Brazil's history. The Corcovado Railroad was the first electrified railroad in Brazil. Inaugurated in 1884 by D. Pedro II, it is older than Christ the Redeemer itself. In fact, it was the train that, during four consecutive years, transported pieces for monument’s construction. Your visit starts on the century-old electric locomotive, riding across the preserved Atlantic Forest, part of the Tijuca National Park. At the foot of the statue of Christ, you'll be able to take in the most beautiful view over the city, and see from above what makes Rio de Janeiro so special.

Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Ticket

4. Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Ticket

Rio's Carnival is the most popular and the best Carnival in the world! No wonder it was named “Largest Carnival in the World” in 2004 by the Guinness Book of World Records. Carioca Carnival is a cultural event, where freedom of expression dominates in a creative and fun way, represented through samba school parades, carnival balls, and a street carnival. The official Samba School parades take place in Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, created by the most renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1983 with capacity for 80,000 spectators. Every year, the Samba Schools compete for the Carnival Champion Title, one school will be chosen as the best of the best. More than 30,000 people perform throughout Carnival. Each school has between 4,000 and 5,000 participants. There are 5 days of parades, divided into three categories: Access Group, Special Group, and Parade of Champions. Access Group In the Access Group, the best Samba Schools will be able to participate in the Special Group in the following year. You will see 12 schools parade with enthusiasm and beauty. This is perfect for those, who want to see the magic of carnival on a budget. Special Group  These are considered the main days of the Carnival Parade. The best 14 Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro show all their creativity and innovations. These are the true magical nights of the Sambadrome. Tickets are more expensive for these days as it is the most popular parade with major league schools. Champions Parade On that night, the top six Special Group schools, plus the Access Group Champion repeat their performances. This is an extraordinary night to see the Carnaval champions of the year.

Rio de Janeiro: Maracanã Stadium Football Match Tickets

5. Rio de Janeiro: Maracanã Stadium Football Match Tickets

Watch a live football match at the world-famous Maracanã stadium accompanied by an expert, bilingual guide who will ensure you have an exciting and safe experience. Live this passion that unites all Brazilians cheering and singing alongside thousands of fans. Maracanã is where Brazilians from all regions meet, driven by the inexplicable passion for their clubs. Watching the football match can be fun, but getting there can be stressful. Our planning lets you to focus on the experience hassle-free, with assistance on everything to keep you on pace of the event. With the tickets in hand, we set off by metro from Ipanema neighborhood towards the stadium. Once in the stadium, walk through the doors and quickly immerse yourself in the surrounding atmosphere, the energy of the crowd cheering as one, the live action and the opportunity to do “the wave”, among other things, will make your day memorable. In this experience, we will take you to witness the games of two of the most important football clubs in Brazil, Flamengo and Fluminense, playing national and international matches at Maracanã, a stadium where these rival clubs share their management. We will meet with the local fans, sing the chants, raise the flags, support the players and hear stories about the past and future heroes of these fields.

Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Tickets

6. Rio de Janeiro: Carnival 2023 Samba School Parade Tickets

Watch the Rio de Janeiro samba school parades at Carnaval Rio 2023, the greatest show on earth. Buy your ticket for the Grandstand and choose between sectors 6, 7, 8 or 9. Seating is reserved in sector 9 only. The grandstands are the liveliest part of the Sambadrome, with a great view of the parade. The seats are concrete steps and the tickets are the most affordable of the event. Only Sector 9 is numbered, offering more convenience with assigned seat during the entire parade night. ACCESS GROUP PARADE - 2/17/2023 and 2/18/2023 The traditional samba schools parade on Friday and Saturday in search of top positions and a place in the Special Group in the following year's competition. SPECIAL GROUP PARADE - 2/19/2023 and 2/20/2023 Rio de Janeiro's best samba schools parade on Carnival Sunday and Monday in search of the title of champion of Rio Carnival 2023. These are the most popular days, when the biggest schools parade, six of them on Sunday and another six on Monday. CHAMPIONS PARADE - 2/25/2023 After the result, the six best samba schools of the Special Group make one last presentation at the Sambódromo. Without the pressure of the jury, the Parade of Champions has an even more special energy!

From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

7. From Rio de Janeiro: Angra dos Reis Boat Trip with Lunch

Visit the islands of Angra do Reis on this boat trip from Rio de Janeiro. Sail through the archipelago of Ilha Grande. Disembark on the small islands to explore the beaches, browse the markets, and snorkel in the deep blue waters. Savor lunch on board and enjoy round-trip transfers from Rio hotels. Relax on the 3-hour drive to the city of Angra dos Reis. A quick pit-stop on the road will be made to use bathroom facilities and buy a snack. Upon arrival in the docks, enjoy a schooner ride through the hundreds of islands of Angra dos Reis.  Marvel at the beauty of the most famous island of it all: Ilha Grande. Revel at the crystal clear water and rent a snorkel on the spot to see the different species of fish. After, devour the buffet lunch in a fishermen’s village. Explore different stops during the day in places such as the Blue Lagoon, Cataguases beach, and Japariz or Araçá beaches. The captain will choose the best spots depending on crowds and weather conditions.

Rio De Janeiro: Half-Day Rocinha Favela Walking Tour

8. 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 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.

Rio Carnival 2023: Samba Parade Tickets with Shuttle Service

9. Rio Carnival 2023: Samba Parade Tickets with Shuttle Service

Experience Rio's Carnival, the most popular and the best parade in the world. This incredible cultural event is characterized by its freedom of expression, and creative and fun atmosphere represented through samba school parades, carnival balls, and street carnival. The official parade takes place in the Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, created by renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer with capacity for 80,000 spectators.  Start the tour with a shared shuttle transfer to the Sambodrome, from main hotels in Copacabana, Leme, Ipanema, Leblon, Lapa, Barra da Tijuca, Centro, and Rio Cruise Port. Choose to spectate the incredible event from 5 days of the parade which are divided into 3 categories: Access Group, Special Group and Parade of Champions. – February 17th, 2023 (Friday): Access Group (2nd league) – February 18th, 2023 (Saturday): Access Group (2nd league) – February 19th, 2023 (Sunday): Special Group (1st league) – February 20th, 2023 (Monday): Special Group (1st league) – February 25th, 2023 (Saturday): Champions’ Parade (“All-Star Parade” with the 6 best schools) Access Group - Friday, February 17th and Saturday, February 18th On these dates, watch as some schools compete to get access to the main league for the following year. This event is perfect for those that want to experience the magic of carnival but have a limited budget. Special Group - Sunday, February 19th and Monday, February 20th With this option, experience the main days of the Carnival Parade. Marvel at the best Samba Schools in Rio de Janeiro showing all their creativity and innovations as you enjoy a magical night in the Sambadrome. Tickets are more expensive for these days as it is the most popular parade and features the major league schools. Champions Parade - Saturday February 25th On this night, the top 6 Special Group Schools plus the Access Group champions repeat their performances. This is an extraordinary night to see the carnival champions of the year. At the end of the tour, take the return shuttle transfer back to your hotel.

Rio Essentials: Christ Redeemer & Sugarloaf Official Tickets

10. Rio Essentials: Christ Redeemer & Sugarloaf Official Tickets

Book your tickets in advance and visit both Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro at your own pace. Christ the Redeemer: you will have the chance to ride the century-old electric Cog Train locomotive, first electrified railroad in Brazil inaugurated in 1884 by D. Pedro II. Riding across part of the Tijuca National Park, you’ll be able to take views of the city, and see from above what makes Rio de Janeiro so unique. Sugarloaf: you will visit another historical Brazilian landmark since the first cable car was installed in Brazil, and the third one in the world. From the top, you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Rio, while being surrounded by the local flora and fauna.

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Frequently asked questions about Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Petrópolis

Other Sightseeing Options in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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What people are saying about Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,263 reviews

We did this on the very last day before we were to leave Rio. We had to cancel going up the prior tow times as it was covered in clouds and it was raining. So we had to do it the last day. We were glad we had booked this as when we got to the venue there was a long line all the way out to the streets. Since we had the fast pass, we were able to pass the line and the heat and were taken to a cool lounge for fast pass. We got preference on the cable cars, which again helped as it was a holiday and the place was crowded. So overall this ticket with the fast pass was very worth it.

Thiago, Pedro, and Julianna were brilliant guides; informative, friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. The experience was amazing, such friendly people and an interesting sense of community, a completely different outlook than the perception we have from movies etc. Would definitely recommend, a Rio highlight!

Even in the pouring rain it was a fantastic tour/experience. Pedro was a brilliant tour guide would highly recommend.

It was what we expected. Really nice staff and you can buy a few drinks at the boat bar.

Great tour, very friendly and knowledgeable guide!