Arrival transfer to your hotel. We highly recommend arriving no later than 3pm.
Today we will be introduced to some of the city's best features including Sugar Loaf, Corcovado and Maracanã stadium. The Sugar Loaf, known world over as Rio’s postcard and a must to visit. Since the best time of the day to go up the cable car is later in the day, the tour will end at the Sugar Loaf. Sugar Loaf is reached on a two-stage cable car ride. This cable car takes 80 people per trip on a 2-minute ride, each stage. The first stage, Morro da Urca - barely 170 mts high, has a restaurant, amphitheater, a helipoint for scenic rides and a privileged view of the Yacht Club and Botafogo Bay. The second stage takes one up to the Sugar Loaf - thus named because of the loaves of sugar that were commonly used by the Portuguese at the time of the discovery of the city. The all-encompassing view of this privileged 270-meter high lookout is unrivaled. Corcovado's summit, home to the Christ the Redeemer statue is reached by taking a Swiss made cogwheel train that climbs the mountain from its base at 15 mts to near its summit at 670 mts. The very top is reached by climbing a flight of steps reaching the base of Christ the Redeemer statue. This statue covered with a mosaic of soapstone is one of Rio’s finest Art Nouveau monuments. The view, from this vantage point, with the surrounding Tijuca National Forest spreading below and a circle of mountains closing the horizon at the very back of the Guanabara bay. Maracanã stadium, named for the surrounding neighbourhood was built by the Brazilian government to host the 1950 soccer World Cup. With an original capacity of 200 thousand spectators it was the world's largest stadium at the time. Even though greatly reduced, the stadium's capacity is still 90 000 spectators and it plays host to Rio de Janeiro's best soccer teams. Day 3 is a free day. Feel free to visit your favourite site again or take in some of Rio de Janeiro's expansive beaches. "God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio," so say the Cariocas, residents of this beautiful city. This is a densely packed city of over 9 million inhabitants, whose economic foundations lie in the cultivation of sugar cane and gold mining. Referred to as the “cidade maravilhosa” (Marvellous City), few cities enjoy such a dramatic setting as Rio. Brilliant, white beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema, deep blue waters of the Atlantic, the luminescent green of Guanabara Bay, the bare blue slopes of the Sugar Loaf combine to make Rio unique. Standing over it all, atop Corcovado (Hunchback), is the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer, the best place from which to appreciate the city. Superb panoramic views of the city and area can also be found from the top of the Pao do Açucar (Sugar Loaf), reached by cable car. Head to some of the famous beaches, and prepare yourself for an experience unlike anything else on Earth. Although the Portuguese first sailed and entered the bay, it was the French who first established a settlement in the area, logging the forest along the coast. Their first permanent settlement lasted a brief five years, when they were attacked and driven from the area by the encroaching Portuguese. A series of skirmishes ensued, with the Tomaio people allied with the French against the Portuguese. In 1567 the Portuguese began construction of a fortified town to repel any invaders, naming it Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. Amassing wealth with the gold rush of Minas Gerais, in the early 18th century Rio became Brazil’s most important city and a great temptation to the French who, in 1710, waged war against the Portuguese and held the city for a sizeable gold ransom. Again in the 19th century, under threat of Napoleon’s invasion, what remained of the Portuguese monarchy fled to Brazil where they set up court in grand style; many of today’s older structures date from this period. The gold rush was followed by a coffee boom in the mid-1800s and the wealth generated led to the city’s initial modernization. Replacing Salvador de Bahía as the colonial capital in 1763, the city remained the capital until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia. Today, the city is a magnet for tourists who come to walk the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, and generally partake in the Carioca zest for life. Many ascend the Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao do Açucar), whose image is nearly synonymous with Rio and Carnival. Modern Rio is perhaps best known for the contrasting images offered by the favelhas (shanty towns), and the glitz and glamour preferred by the Samba schools and their Carnival celebrations.
Take it slow today because the parade literally lasts all night. It might be a good day to relax on one of the many beaches on offer in the city. Most tourists head to the famous Copacabana beach although the combined beaches of Ipanema and Leblon can be less crowded and are equally well garnished with vendors selling food, jewelery, sarongs and pretty much anything else that you might want CARNIVAL PARADE NIGHT 18:00/19:30 You will be transferred to the Sambodrome to see the Carnival Parade. Be prepared for a very late night. Your G Adventures representatives will accompany you and after the Parade where you'll transfer back to your hotel. Since 1984, the Samba Parade found a permanent home at the Sambodrome, in the downtown area. It consists of several independent concrete structures along both sides of Av. Marquês de Sapucaí, the samba runway. They lead to the Apotheosis Square, crowned by a concrete M that brings to mind the symbol of a fast-food chain. During the school year, parts of the structure are used as classrooms by public schools. The Square often acts as the stage of shows, and major bands have performed here. When Carnival magic takes over, the Sambodrome is the setting for the greatest show on earth. It’s very safe inside the Sambodrome and you will be sitting in Section 9, the tourist section and the only one section of the Grandstand with assigned seating. You are welcome to bring your camera or camcorder. There are plenty of snack bars with drinks, sandwiches, fries, but extra rolls of film and batteries are really hard to find. Bathrooms are kept relatively clean, under the constant care of janitors. When schools pass by the percussion bands often stop in front of our section and which is when things tend to get hotter and you enjoy the benefits. And then you don’t have to ask someone to save you seat, as they are numbered chairs. The Samba Schools Parade at Rio’s Sambodrome is something everybody has to experience at least once in life. The event is broadcast live to several countries, and all Brazilian states. Watching on TV is cool, but not half as much fun as being there! You have to mingle with the crowd, sweat and maybe even march with a samba school. In case you are getting completely mixed up, Samba Schools are not teaching institutions. A Samba School is an association of people from the same neighbourhood, usually a popular community (favela) or suburban area. They get together on a regular basis for samba meetings and rehearsals. Samba schools provide valuable jobs to the community in the production of costumes, and floats. Each year schools choose a different theme. Samba schools may take to the Parade anything from 3,000 to 5,000 members, and from 6 to 8 floats. They have to make it through the runway in a period from 60 to 80 minutes. This means each member will spend only about 25-30 in the Sambodrome. The experience is so intense that memories will last a lifetime.
After an all-night samba party and a city tour you now have two free days to enjoy the sun and surf of the city. Take a book to Copacabana beach, shop along the main streets of Ipanema and Leblon, try some Brazilian beef at a churrascaria or just sleep in and get some rest.
Depart Rio de Janeiro.