The mountain ranges, the Guanabara Bay, the glittering water beaches and the colorful houses on top of the hills are undeniable proof that Rio was made to be seen from above. In fact, such exceptional scenery ultimately led the city to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
You already know that Rio is filled with natural wonders. Do you want to be even more amazed with the scenery and make sure you have the very best Rio experience possible? Then make sure you schedule a flight arriving at Rio during the day. The arrival at the airport gives you a great preview of the Wonderful City.
If you’re lucky and the weather is not cloudy, you can see Christ the Redeemer from the plane, since it flies by the monument shortly before it lands at Galeão, Rio’s international airport.
Center stage for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games, the Maracanã stadium is another landmark that can be seen from the plane, depending on where you’re coming from.
After arriving, drop your bags off at the hotel and hit the streets to interact with the one-of-a-kind spirit of the carioca people (born in Rio de Janeiro). This will charge up your batteries and have you ready to continue the experience of seeing the city from the sky.
It is impossible to imagine a trip to Rio de Janeiro without a visit to Christ the Redeemer. The 38-meter high statue on top of the Corcovado Hill is the most famous image of Brazil around the world. Visitors can get to the top of the hill via train, van or even on foot, through a trail that starts at Lage Park. We recommend taking the train, since it runs through the Tijuca Forest and unveils the city in some of its most beautiful angles.
If you visit Christ the Redeemer in the morning, you can use the afternoon to visit one of the city’s other main postcards: Pão de Açúcar. The first cableway installed in Brazil and third around the world, the Pão de Açúcar cableway is one of the most important hallmarks of Rio de Janeiro and one of the city’s trademarks. The cableway ride covers two stages: one leaving from Vermelha Beach to the Urca Hill, and the other to Pão de Açúcar, reaching a height of 396 meters.
Got some spare time left? Then go enjoy the sunset sipping on some coconut water at the Copacabana Beach boardwalk.
If you’re looking to visit an authentic Rio district, hit up Santa Teresa. Charming and rustic, the district was born around a convent in the 18th century over a hill in the heart of the city. A hallmark of fine arts, the district’s narrow roads bustle with dozens of art studios and old trams, which can only be found in Rio and the city of Santos, in the state of São Paulo. The tram departs from the downtown area and passes through the age-old Arcos da Lapa. The birthplace of Rio’s bohemian spirit, the Lapa district houses one of the richest architectural complexes in Rio, in addition to being one of the city’s main nightlight hotspots since the 1950s.
In Santa Teresa, you can also visit the Ruínas Park, a beautiful lookout point that puts Rio de Janeiro at your feet. The point offers an extraordinary view of Rio’s downtown area and coastline, from the Santos Dumont Airport to Urca.
Rio de Janeiro is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as the Dois Irmãos Hill (533 meters), Pedra da Gávea (842 meters) and Bico do Papagaio (989 meters). The view from all of them is amazing and visitors are always in close contact with nature.
If you prefer free flight, go to the ramp in Pedra Bonita (696 meters). From the ramp, visitors can bring their cameras along in double flights with pilots certified by the Brazilian Free Flight Association (ABVL). The ride offers beautiful views of São Conrado, surrounding mountain ranges and the coastline, landing at the Pepino Beach after about 20 minutes.
After arriving in Petrópolis, make your way to the Serra dos Órgãos National Park – a 20,000-hectare area filled with rocky peaks, waterfalls and rivers. The Park is one of the most important Atlantic Forest preserves in Brazil, with rugged topography and high-altitude peaks, steep cliffs and lush vegetation. The highest point offers amazing views of the Guanabara Bay and Serra dos Órgãos, while the lowest point offers hikes through the woods and encounters with the local wildlife.
Serra dos Órgãos provides beautiful natural attractions, such as Pedra do Sino, the highest point of the municipality of Teresópolis, 2,263 meters above the ground, and Dedo de Deus, Dedo de Nossa Senhora, Nariz do Frade, and many others spread across the region.
Offering plenty of hiking options, waterfalls and lookout points, the Park is located between the municipalities of Petrópolis, Magé, Guapimirim and Teresópolis.