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Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, 38m Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnaval festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.
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Day 1: Rio de Janeiro
Take in the breathtaking view as your plane descends upon Rio de Janeiro – the 'Marvellous City' where rolling green hills, turqoise ocean, sandy beaches and high-rise urban development is all packed together in a unique blend of life and humanity. Your driver will take you from the airport to the hotel, during which time you can get a different perspective of the city, passing through the colonial style buildings and along the world-famous beachfront. The natural beauty of Rio is almost transcendental and gives you a taste of the Amazon rainforest while still retaining everything that is so incredible about a Latin American city. A walk along the mosaic tiles of Copacabana reveals much about the life of a 'carioca' (Rio local) – a refreshing caipirinha as the waves lap against the shore, a fiercely competitive game of foot volleyball, and thousands of beachgoers sunning themselves on the white sands. You have truly arrived in paradise.
Day 2: Rio de Janeiro
After a delicious tropical breakfast in your hotel, you will head out on a trip to see the world-famous Christ the Saviour statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. A specially designed train will take you from the foot of the mountain along a winding road through the magical Tijuca rainforest where you will see some of the enchanting tropical wildlife on constant display in Rio, such as toucans, monkeys and armadillos. At the summit of Corcovado, 700m above sea level, proudly stands the iconic image seen around the world – a 38m high statue of Christ the Saviour. But that is not the only breathtaking thing about this place – when up close to the statue you will be overwhelmed by the stunning panoramic view of the city, so high up it seems as though you are truly fliying with the birds around you. From the far reaches of Guanabara Bay, to the Maracanã Stadium, all along to Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana, Ipanema and Gávea Mountain, you can see the whole of Rio de Janeiro.
Your driver will take you back to your hotel for a quick rest before you begin the New Year festivities. Walking onto Copacabana beach you will experience a New Year’s party like no other. A huge stage occupies one section of the beach, while millions (yes, millions!) of partygoers take to the sands dressed all in white to witness a spectacular fireworks display, and tributes are paid to the water goddess Lemanjá and sent into the ocean on small boats. The magical party atmosphere, it goes without saying, continues long into the night.
* * * If you wish, you can book a New Year dinner or a ticket for a party in one of the hotels in Copacabana. Prices available on request ***
Day 3: Rio de Janeiro
After breakfast in your hotel you will be taken to the mythical Sugarloaf mountain, protruding abruptly from out of the ground like an alsteriod just fallen from space. A magnificent cable car ride will take you up to Urca Mountain, the stop off between ground level and Sugarloaf. From there you can enjoy a smooth cocktail or sample some of Brazil’s many signature dishes. Once arriving to the top of Sugarloaf mountain you will see the captivating beauty of Rio from a different angle, To your left you can see Copacabana beach stretching off into the distance, and on the horizon the faint outlines of Two Brothers and Gávea mountains. Below you is the quaint and intimate Red Beach, while to your right you can see across Guanabara Bay to Niterói and, closer in, Rio’s Botafogo and central neighbourhoods, with the unmistakeable silhouette of Christ the Saviour casting its eternal gaze over the city. This trip is essential to gain a different perspective on Rio, and to truly understand its beauty.
After descending the mountain by cablecar, you will head into the Old Town and Centre, where colonial architecture still remains and many old churches such as the Candelária are still in use. The cobbled streets and bright colours are a stark contrast to the whitewashed, sunsoaked streets of Ipanema but in many ways are part of the authentic, nearly-forgotten Rio of old, and one can almost feel the hustle and bustle of hundreds of years ago when these streets were filled with merchants and citizens of the Portuguese Empire.
Day 4: Rio de Janeiro
After breakfast you will have a free day to discover the city on your own, relax on one the beautiful beaches or do some optional tours.
Day 5: Back to home
It is time to say Goodbye! After breakfast you will be transferred to the international Airport in Rio de Janeiro for your flight back home.