This full-day private Rio tour combines two of our top-selling Rio de Janeiro tours into one epic adventure! Experience both our Santa Teresa Discovery and Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Tour in this jam-packed day that shows you all the sites you'll want to see, on your own private adventure. This private tour can be just for you, your family or a group of friends – perfect for travellers who want a more personalised experience. (If you’d prefer to travel as part of a regular group, please book our Total Rio Tour Combo 1 Group Tour.)
Blessed with the most stunning natural setting, Rio de Janeiro is a city that is as famous for its beauty as it is for its poverty. Stretching up into the mountains that hug glistening Guanabara Bay are the city’s vast, and often misunderstood, shantytowns known as favelas.
From beautiful vistas and iconic locations, to some of the communities that have helped make this city the melting pot that it is, you’re sure to find Rio a captivating and complex place that can steal your heart forever.
On this full day Rio city tour we'll explore the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, see what local life is really like in a Rio favela, travel around the city like a local, experience the Bohemian vibe in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, and drink in some pretty epic views of the city.
First up - downtown! While this is mostly a Rio walking tour, we'll start with a little public transit, shall we? Take the subway downtown so you can experience how locals get around Rio and help orientate yourself in the city.
We'll hop off at Carioca Station and wander through the Financial District, home of huge companies such as Petrobras and BNDES. Check out Carioca Square, once the main source of drinking water in Rio, transported in by the Aqueducts of Lapa.
From here, we'll climb aboard the tram for the journey up to Santa Teresa, which is a 20 minute ride over the aqueducts which are now used as the tram route. This is the last tram line in Brazil that is used solely for transportation purposes.
Hopping off at Largo dos Guimaraes, it's time to explore the cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa! We'll wander about on foot and discover beautiful architecture, art galleries, restaurants, and local costumes that characterise Santa Teresa.
One of Rio's oldest neighbourhoods, Santa Teresa, situated high on a hill overlooking Rio, enchants locals and visitors alike with its cobbled streets and eclectic architectural styles. The views of the city centre and the bay aren't too shabby either. (Okay, they're stunning, but that's hardly a surprise...we're in Rio, after all!).
Previously a neighbourhood dominated by the elite, with their departure to more modern suburbs of Rio, Santa Teresa has been transformed into an artistic centre with many artists choosing the area as their preferred place of residence. Among the attractions in Santa Teresa is the Ruins Park and its gorgeous view over downtown Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara Bay. Many visitors compare Santa Teresa to the bohemian district of Montmartre in Paris, and we'd stay that's a pretty fair comparison.
During the Carnival, many street bands perform on the streets and the most famous one is “Bloco das Carmelitas”, which was named after the local convent, which we'll see on our way back towards the Lapa District. As our time in Santa Teresa winds down, we have one final (and rather important) stop to make: Selaron's Staircase. This masterpiece and picturesque icon is one of the late artist's most famous pieces, and is without a doubt one of the highlights of this Rio tour.
Our Rio tour will continue with an incredible bird's eye view of the city from the base of the Statue of Christ. This enormous white statue keeps constant watch over Rio, offering sweeping 360 degree views of the city’s natural wonders: beaches, lagoons, forests, bays, and mountains that seem to rise from the ocean.
It’s no wonder that the ‘cristo’ statue was recently selected as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Soak up the views, pick out some of Rio’s most famous sights, and snap a must-have picture before getting a very different view of the city.
Next, it’s time to trade in this tourist icon for something less visited, and step into the Santa Marta favela. Accompanied by your local guide, wander through the community, meeting the people who live here and see the places made famous in the Michael Jackson video. Stroll the narrow alleys, learn about local life, and dispel some of the myths about these vibrant communities.
In the heart of the favela, take a moment to admire the breathtaking views over Guanabara Bay and Botafogo area from Michael Jackson’s lookout. For anyone wishing to experience the real Rio, you simply can’t miss this experience. A full day, a fullly Carioca experience.