Tours in Rio de Janeiro
By hiring me as your tour guide, you can book just one or several half- or full-day tours according to your interests and budget. The tours are private — it will be only you and your travelling companions in the vehicle.
Please explore this page, decide which half-day tours you would like to book, and fill in the contact form to get a quote and a suggested program for the days you will be in Rio de Janeiro.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Rio de Janeiro Half-Day Tours
1st half-day tour: Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf
2nd half-day tour: Selaron steps and downtown
3rd half-day tour: “My” Rio de Janeiro tour
4th half-day tour: Ask me
• Other tours to add to your program
• Rio de Janeiro Full-Day Tours
Rio de Janeiro HALF-Day Tours
1st Half-Day Tour
Christ the Redeemer Statue Tour
Christ the Redeemer is the iconic statue overlooking and blessing Rio de Janeiro.
The statue was elected one of the 7 new wonders of the world, and it is, without a doubt, Rio’s most visited monument, situated at 710 meters (2,329 feet) above sea level on the summit of Corcovado Mountain. From there one can have a 360-degree view of Rio de Janeiro.
A Christ the Redeemer tour is a must-do in Rio. By hiring an experienced Rio de Janeiro tour guide you will receive the essential information about the site and the city during a hassle-free visit.
Sugar Loaf Tour
Sugar Loaf is Rio’s second most visited monument, with breath-taking views over the city. It is a 396-meter (1,299 feet) high one-block stone from where you can have a panoramic view over Copacabana, Leme, Botafogo and Flamengo beaches besides downtown, Rio-Niterói bridge, Guanabara Bay as well as several other Rio de Janeiro highlights and landmarks.
2nd Half-Day Tour
Selaron Steps Tour
In 1990, Chilean-born Jorge Selarón began covering with tiles a 215-step stairway that connects Lapa to Santa Teresa. It was an obsessive and exhaustive work. Eventually, he covered the entire set of stairs with tiles. It has been named by the artist himself as Selaron steps, but it is also known as Lapa steps.
His unique work of art has featured in many famous magazines, newspapers, travel shows, documentaries, commercials and video clips such as Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful”.
Selaron steps — the famous colored steps in Lapa — has definitely become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro in the past years. A must-see to anyone visiting Rio de Janeiro.
Note: As I have personally met the artist hundreds of times when he was alive, I can tell you a lot about him and his masterpiece. Besides, I can point to you where are located some interesting tiles, among the many hundreds from different cities and countries.
Visit to the following places:
• Drive along important avenues of downtown, to get an overview of it;
• Quick look at the Municipal Theater (seen only from the outside);
• Quick visit to Rio’s modern cathedral (a church different from all the others you have seen);
• Short (or long) stroll in the business district as well as in the historic part of downtown (with colonial-style Portuguese buildings as well as modern ones along the way);
• Visit to the 19th century Colombo café (one of the oldest in Rio) [Queen Elizabeth has visited this place];
• Drive near Lapa arches and parts of Lapa neighborhood. Lapa was one of the first residential areas in Rio de Janeiro;
• Three to five other sites, streets, and attractions may be added to the tour depending on the day of the week, time of the day, traffic, and your pace or of your travelling companions.
Note: A 10- to 50-minute stroll is expected on this tour. The length of the stroll will depend on a variety of reasons such as your age or of your travelling companions, day of the week, weather, among other variables.
Since the attractions in downtown have different opening hours, it is recommended to visit it on a guided tour.
3rd Half-Day Tour
“My” Rio de Janeiro Tour
“My Rio de Janeiro” tour is MY selection of residential neighborhoods, vantage points, avenues, hidden spots, and lesser known beaches (including one of the beaches I go to on my days off).
This is one of my favorite tours. Part of the tour itinerary consists of a Rio de Janeiro off the beaten track. In fact, some of the sites on the tour are not even known by most locals. If you want to see a Rio de Janeiro that most tourists don’t see, then this tour might be for you.
4th Half-Day Tour
Other Tours and Attractions
I offer several half-day tours. Depending on how long you stay in Rio de Janeiro, I might suggest other tours not described on this page.
Other tours to add to your program
Rio de Janeiro Street Art Tour
There are many talented graffiti artists in Rio de Janeiro and their work of art can been seen on a number of walls throughout the city. However, their graffiti are not every you go and in every single neighborhood. On the contrary, they are at certain areas of Rio de Janeiro.
This tour has been created to take you to the right places where the cool graffiti are. In fact, regular tourists see very few graffiti when visiting Rio de Janeiro, especially if they spend most of their time in Copacabana or Ipanema, or at other neighborhoods where artists don’t express their art on walls.
Note 1: No information about the art or artists is given. This tour is not informative, it is visual. The tour may be done part by car, part on foot.
Note 2: The street art may be different from the images uploaded on this page. The murals are from time to time repainted by the artists themselves.
Tour of Maracaña Football Stadium
Brazil is the only country 5-time football world champion and Maracanã was the world’s biggest football stadium when it was built, with an official world-record attendance of 199,854 in the 1950 World Cup Final (Brazil x Uruguay).
The main Rio de Janeiro football stadium also hosted the 2014 World Cup final (Germany 1 x Argentina 0), and the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony.
The walking tour inside the stadium includes a visit to the dressing room, to the bleachers, and to the field (you can get close to the grass, but not really step on it).
Visit the stadium on a private tour as it has variable opening hours.
Rio de Janeiro Beach Tour
Panoramic tour of top 5 South Zone beaches in Rio de Janeiro: Leblon, Ipanema, Arpoador, Copacabana, and Leme. Combined length of these beaches: 8 km (5 miles).
It is an opportunity to see, photograph and video-record locals enjoying a day on the beach i.e. surfing, jogging, walking, playing football or beach volleyball or just getting suntanned to show off their tan at Rio de Janeiro’s vibrant nightlife. It includes slow drive along the way and photo stops at specific vantage points.
Note: This tour is ideal for 1) Those who have only one day in Rio de Janeiro and wouldn’t have time to see the top 5 beaches on their own, 2) Those who prefer to explore Rio only on a guided tour, 3) Those who don’t want to go around on their own carrying expensive photographic equipment, and 4) Those who are not staying in a hotel near Copacabana or Ipanema, and won’t have time to check these beaches out by themselves.
You may want to visit some specific sites not listed here. That’s fine. However, ideally, you should let me know in advance (by email) what sites are those, and then I will tell you if they fit well in the program.
Rio de Janeiro FULL-Day Tours
Technically, I don’t offer full-day tours. However, two half-day tours can be combined on the same day making a full-day tour.
Full-day tours are ideal for those who have very little time in Rio de Janeiro (1-2 days), or for those who are very active, or for those who want to see as much as possible in a short period of time.
Book a tour of Rio de Janeiro with me
• 19 years of experience
• Well-organized guided tour
• Absolutely fluent in English
• Private air-conditioned vehicle
“We had read the amazing reviews before we booked our tour with Madson, but he exceeded our expectations in every way. He was the consummate professional, with extensive knowledge of every place we wanted to visit. Perhaps most importantly, he was able to save us hours and hours of waiting in line by knowing the best time to visit each spot. If we had tried to do our trip alone, it probably would have taken 3x as long. Madson deserves the credit for making our time in Rio so enjoyable. I recommend unequivocally.” — James Gantsoudes