Every year, people from all over the world make their way to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Holland America Line cruises that explore South America. But just what is it about this city that people find so intriguing?
Is it the diverse landscape of lush, green mountains overlooking white, sandy beaches? Or the unusual juxtaposition of a sleepless city that is never stressed? Perhaps it’s the bright colors and captivating music to be found around every corner? Or maybe the way the citizens exude passion for everything from soccer to the samba…
Rio is unlike any other city in the world, and it also happens to be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. So get a deeper glimpse into this amazing city before the games begin. These incredible shore excursions are available on cruises that call at Rio and offer a diverse range of options, whether it’s your first visit or you’ve been there before.
And if you’re thinking about a cruise to South America, now is the time to book with Explore 4 savings. Several voyages that call at Rio are included, so reserve your stateroom before Oct. 30, 2015, and take advantage of the special offers!
Corcovado & Rio Highlights
If there’s one icon that defines Rio de Janeiro it’s Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain. Ride a cogwheel tram 2,400 feet to the top, then elevator or escalator to the peak. This magnificent soapstone statue stands 125 feet tall with arms outstretched, welcoming you to the best view of the city. A trip to Rio just isn’t complete without visiting this landmark!
Beaches of Rio & Sugar Loaf Mountain
Just past Corcovado Mountain you’ll find another symbol of Rio … Sugar Loaf Mountain! Start with a scenic drive past waterfront attractions such as Botafogo Beach, Flamengo Park and Aterro before stopping at Praia Vermelha in the Urca District. Ride in a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain to take in more panoramic views of the city.
Once you’re done soaking up the sights, descend down the mountain to meet your coach for a relaxing ride back to port. You’ll pass by some of Rio’s most iconic beaches like Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Feel free to sing Barry Manilow’s hit song as you drive by!
Imperial Petropolis & Museum
See what it was like to live the high life with a visit to Petropolis, the residence of the royal family until 1889. Founded by Emperor Dom Pedro II in 1843, the summer resort of Petropolis lies just 30 miles outside Rio. This lavish estate houses the royal family’s crown jewels as well as their artfully handcrafted royal carriages.
If I had limited time in Rio, I would not take this. But if you have seen Rio before, this is a historical eye opener. Never understood that the Portuguese crown transferred to Brazil when Napolean was trampling Europe. Really amazed at the European crown retreat in the hills…definately cooler than down in Rio. Nice drive into countryside… — Guest PresbyGuy
Brazil’s stunning traditional architecture doesn’t stop there. On the estate, you’ll continue your peaceful afternoon to the Quitandinha, a historic former luxury hotel, then the cathedral. Finish off this tour by tantalizing your taste buds with lunch in a typical churrascaria, or Brazilian steakhouse.
A Night Out in Rio: Samba Show
Rio is rich with symbols and sights, but it also has intangible cultural elements that visitors can’t get enough of. Once the sun goes down, a new palatte of colors emerge to fill the city with dazzling samba shows. Enjoy a live 90-minute presentation of vibrant colors, dazzling costumes and Afro-Brazilian beats. The samba is an essential part of Rio’s culture that you won’t want to miss!
Carnaval Samba Parade One-Day Pass
If you find yourself in Rio in February on a Holland America cruise, you’re in for a special treat. The legendary Carnival parade fills the streets of Rio. Extraordinary floats trimmed with samba dancers and dazzling costumes move and groove down the street to Rio’s signature Afro-Brazilian beats.
This tour will begin with a transfer from the port of Rio to the great Marques de Sapucaí Avenue. Carnival is held in the Sambodromo, a stadium-like structure built in 1984 that stretches down the avenue to Apotheosis Square.
This was fabulous! Do not miss this opportunity to see the most colorful, amazing parades of your life. It was raining when we went, but a poncho takes care of that. Plan to stay all night to see all of the parades; it started about 9:00 p.m. and ended about 7:00 a.m. We stayed for four of the six parades in order to get an hour of sleep before the next-day tour. Just plan to be up all night, because you will never see anything else like this in your life. Worth the price for the security and transportation to and from. HAL provides shuttles so you can leave whenever you want to during the night. Watching the crowds was as much fun as the parades. — Guest Funtraveler
Carnival 2016 lasts from February 5 to February 10. It’s a one-in-a-lifetime spectacle we promise will mesmerize, fascinate, awaken your senses and create memories to cherish for life.
If you’re interested in visiting Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, the 47-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer on ms Maasdam will be stopping in Rio from February 7 to February 9. However, if you’d like to spend more than a few days at Carnival, the 24-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer disembarks in Rio on February 7 so you can spend as much time in Rio as you want!
And if you can’t make it to this coming year’s Carnival, there’s always the next year! The 24-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer and the 48-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer are also available for 2017 bookings.
Rio is the perfect place to let loose, awaken your youth and say goodbye to your stressors. With an abundance of food, music and dance, this city’s unique culture loves to indulge in the best life has to offer. From the people to the natural scenery, it would be difficult to find a place more beautiful than Rio de Janeiro.
If any of these Rio tours interest you, remember that the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you’re sure to get the tour of your choice.
Have you ever wanted to visit Rio? What would be first on your itinerary? Tell us in the comments below!