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New Year in Rio de Janeiro

28 or 29 Dec 2018 to 2 or 3 Jan 2019

Your tour of Rio de Janeiro takes you to see the iconic sights of the world's most exotic city, and to see in the New Year with millions of people on Copacabana Beach. You can marvel at the views from both the statue of Christ The Redeemer and the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. 31st December brings the largest New Year show on earth, with the midnight fireworks taking you into 2019.

Your tour of Rio de Janeiro takes you to see the iconic sights of the world's most exotic city, and to see in the New Year with millions of people on Copacabana Beach. You can marvel at the views from both the statue of Christ The Redeemer and the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. 31st December brings the largest New Year show on earth, with the midnight fireworks taking you into 2019.

There are many ways to enjoy the Copacabana Beach fireworks show, with the most popular (and cheapest!) being to join the 2 million or so people filling the 4km stretch of sand. Many people take their own food and drink to the beach in iceboxes, and spread beach towels (cangas) on the sand from early in the evening. There are live music concerts at three stages along Copacabana, although these areas are often the busiest and most difficult to negotiate. The beach fills with people towards midnight, most of them dressed in white, the traditional colour of the Brazilian New Year. Other superstitious traditions include eating pork, lentils and grapes, although usually only after the fireworks. Once they have finished, you will find people lining the shore to cast flowers into the sea as offerings for the goddess Iemanja, while plenty will also be jumping seven waves, which is supposed to bring luck for the coming year!

Champagne is also a big factor in the evening, and bottles litter the beach as the sun rises over Copacabana. This is the signal for the largest clean-up operation on the planet! City cleaners in their famous orange outfits pass amongst the remaining revelers (and there are plenty!) to make sure that Copacabana begins the new year in pristine style.

Away from the beach, the hotels overlooking Copacabana Beach have fantastic views of the whole spectacle, and many have their own private parties for guests and non-guests alike to enjoy the scene from the rooftop terraces above. Food and drink are usually included, with the Copacabana Palace of course having one of the most famous. Parties take place in private apartments and function areas across the city too, ranging from the black-tie event on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain to the parties in the bars of the mountainside favelas behind Copacabana.

We can arrange any of these for you, and we also have a special option to enjoy New Year from a private sailing boat stationed in the ocean on the far side of the firework barges. This is a wonderful place to take in the whole of the beach, the people, the colours and your champagne all from the comfort of the deck.

This tour can be shortened if necessary, but hotels in Rio de Janeiro require a minimum of 4 nights usually, with some at 5 or even more nights. This New Year in Rio de Janeiro Tour can be combined with any of our other destinations in Brazil, either before or after New Year. Particular recommendations include a couple of days visiting one of the Natural Wonders of the World at Iguazu Falls, or spending some time on the beaches close to Rio de Janeiro such as Buzios, Paraty and Ilha Grande. Please bear in mind that the period immediately before and after New Year in Brazil is very busy. All flights and hotels will be reserved a long time in advance, so it is best to book as early as possible! Also, any coastal road journeys between Rio de Janeiro and the beaches will take a lot longer than usual, with heavy traffic as everyone heads away for their summer holidays.

  • Destinations: Rio de Janeiro
  • Duration: 28 or 29 Dec 2018 to 2 or 3 Jan 2019
  • Trip Style: Events & Festivals
  • Activities: Beaches

Brazil Adventure Tours provide you with ideas for tours of Brazil and South America, with all being completely flexible with regards to dates, duration or the tours, activities and classes that we can include. Our website tours are our recommendations based on our experience of how to make the very best of your time in South America. We can adjust these details in any way that you wish, with a little advice from us of course. We can combine any of our destinations that you wish to visit into one tour, and for however long you wish to visit them. Any of our Traditional and Adventure tours can also be combined in whichever way you prefer. We are here to organise a tour that suits you after all, not the other way around!

Day 1 : Arrive in Rio de Janeiro for New Year!
Rio de Janeiro

Your Rio de Janeiro New Year Tour begins as our guide meets you at the airport and describes the Marvellous City to you during the journey to your hotel, passing the city and Guanabara Bay, with Sugar Loaf Mountain on the left and the Corcovado Mountain with the statue of Christ the Redeemer above on the right. After checking in and some time for lunch, you have the rest of the day free to take your first look at Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. As sunset approaches, people head to the Arpoador headland between the two beaches to enjoy sunset. Crowds applaud as the sun drops into the golden sea at the side of the Two Brothers Mountains.

Day 2 : Cable Cars and Sugar Loaf Views
Rio de Janeiro

The morning brings a journey around the lagoon to the Botanical Gardens in the shadow of Cristo. The gardens contain a huge array of tropical species, with palms, orchids and the pau brasil tree that gave its name to the country watched over by monkeys and toucans. You then travel to the bottom of Sugar Loaf Mountain to ride the two cable cars to the 396m summit. The marvellous city views take in the 4km of Copacabana Beach, the city mountains behind the statue of Christ The Redeemer and even to the mountains an hour or two out of Rio on a clear day. Afternoon and evening are free to enjoy the build up to New Year.

Day 3 : New Year on Copacabana Beach
Rio de Janeiro

With millions of people visiting the city to celebrate the New Year, Rio gets very busy at this time of year as the beach roads close early to traffic. Leaving the day free is perhaps the best idea in order for you to prepare for the long night ahead. As 2019 approaches, you should head to Copacabana Beach with the whole 4km length filled with people wearing white clothes and watching the spectacular midnight firework display out on the waters. Afterwards, people head to the waves and jump seven of them for luck, or cast flowers to Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea. There are also parties on Ipanema Beach and in apartments and hotels across the city.

Day 4 : 2019 Begins in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

With the last night of 2018 likely to stretch a long way into the morning and possibly through to the day as well, it is wise to leave January 1st clear for some recovery time. Rio is the perfect place to party and is also a great place to recouperate. With miles of beach for relaxing and fruit juice bars on every corner selling shakes of every colour to help replenish those vitamins, and actvities galore across the city, 2019 can start in whichever manner you choose. Options around the city include trekking in the forest on the mountain-tops, tandem hang-gliding to land on the beach, surfing, boat trips, helicopter rides and much more. Please ask for more details.

Day 5 : Rio from Christ the Redeemer
Rio de Janeiro

Your final tour of Rio takes you to the top of Corcovado, the steep 710m high mountain topped by the 31m statue of Christ The Redeemer. The views from the base across the city, beaches, mountains, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Guanabara Bay and the Atlantic Ocean are as spectacular as city views can be. You then drop through Santa Teresa and the Selaron Staircase to see the historic side of Rio, the Municipal Theatre and the grand buildings that date from the 19th Century and earlier. The modern Metropolitan Cathedral and the antique Arches of Lapa are two more Rio postcard sights. The afternoon and evening are free to relax.

Day 6 : Flying Home from Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro & Away

With your flight home likely to be overnight, you have the morning to relax, spend some final time on the beaches and enjoy lunch. There is even time for some activity if you like, with a tandem hang-gliding flight one possibility for rounding off your trip in adventurous style. However you prefer to spend your final day, in the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home from Rio de Janeiro. Your New Year Tour of Rio de Janeiro can also be extended to include Iguazu Falls, the Costa Verde, Buenos Aires or the Amazon, or any other tour of Brazil and South America during the Christmas and New Year period.

PRICES Simple 3 Star 4 Star Luxury
Per Adult * US$ 875 US$ 1,225 US$ 1,875 US$ 2,375
Domestic Flights ** N/A

Suggested Hotels Simple 3 Star 4 Star Luxury
Rio de Janeiro Pousada Bonita Ipanema Atlantis Copacabana Ipanema Plaza Hotel Sofitel Rio


* Prices vary depending on travel dates and flight availability. Peak periods in Brazil including Carnaval, public holidays and Christmas/New Year usually require a minimum number of nights, so in these cases itineraries may need to be changes. ** Domestic flight prices are estimated on typical values when reserved 6 months before travel. Prices can never be guaranteed until reservations are made though, and do usually become more expensive closer to the travel period.

Do I require a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil and other countries visited during this tour?

Citizens of many countries require a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil, organised in advance at your nearest Brazil Consulate.
Please check details for visa requirements for your country on our Brazil Tourist Visa page.
Also, for details of your nearest Brazil Consulate in case you do require a Tourist Visa, please visit our Brazil Consulates page.

Do I need any special vaccinations for the areas visited during this tour?

Visitors to Brazil and South America are advised to always check the latest health information from your local doctors or travel clinic.
You may be advised to take a course of Malaria tablets. Yellow Fever Vaccine is highly recommended/essential for the Pantanal & Amazon region, plus the certificate to prove it, and possibly Hepatitis A and B Vaccines.
Please check our Brazil Vaccinations for further information.

What is the best time of year for this tour?

January - December

Tandem Hang-Gliding Flight - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: 3 Hours incl Instructions/Transfers
If there is one adventurous activity that we recommend you try in Rio, then tandem hang-gliding should be top of your list. Flights take off from the ramp on the top of Pedra Bonita in the Tijuca Forest National Park, with expert and very experienced instructors. For 10-15 minutes, gliders circle the skies above the Sao Conrado district and out over the Atlantic Ocean, before landing on the sands of Praia do Pepino. Instruction on take-off and landing is given, as well as safety talks. Our instructors are the best in Rio, the national and continental champions, and they make sure that your tandem hang-gliding experience will be a special memory of Rio.
Christ the Redeemer Statue - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: During Half or Full Day Tours
The iconic sight of Rio de Janeiro is the statue of Christ the Redeemer looking down on the city from the top of the steep Corcovado Mountain. This spectacular location is 710m high and visit to the 31m art-deco statue of course makes part of a stay in Rio for most first-time visitors to the city. ‘Cristo’ can be seen from many parts of Rio, near and far, even when lit up at night, meaning that the views from the base of the statue are as spectacular as any city view in the world, taking in the city, the lagoon, Guanabara Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, plus beaches and mountains galore. Spread those arms, take that photo and tick off Cristo!
Sugar Loaf Mountain Cable-Car Ride - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: During Half or Full Day Tours
Sugar Loaf Mountain is the 396m tall block of granite and quartz that guards the western entrance of Guanabara Bay, the natural harbour on which Rio de Janeiro was founded. The cable car was only the third ever to be built when inaugurated in 1912 by Brazilian engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos. There are actually two cables, the first from beside Praia Vermelha to the middle station on the top of Urca Rock, and the second strung between there and the summit of Sugar Loaf itself. A trip to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain is an essential part of a first visit to Rio, with views matching those from Cristo, which can be seen silhouetted against the sky.
Copacabana & Ipanema Beaches - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: As Long As You Like!
Possibly the two most famous stretches of sand in the world in the world are in Rio. Copacabana is a beautiful 4km curve of sand, with plenty of hotels in the 3 or 4 blocks between the beach and the mountains. Ipanema is a 3km strip of mainly residential buildings. They are only 500m apart and as we recommend that our visitors to Rio stay within walking distance of one of them, these beaches will make part of every visit. With swimming, surfing, lounging, beach activities, plus world-class people-watching, we always leave time for people to enjoy themselves on Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Free
In any other city, a huge lagoon backed by mountains would be far more famous, but the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon has much competition in Rio. an 8km path around the perimeter for walking, running and cycling means that the area always has visitors. Pedal swans and stand-up paddle boards can also be taken out on the water, under the gaze of ‘Cristo’. Bars and restaurants in the Ipanema corner make the lagoon a pleasant place to spend the evening too, with lights twinkling all around - especially when the famous electronic Christmas tree is in that part of the lagoon! You may also encounter the resident capybara that returned to the area recently.
Prainha & Grumari Beaches - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: All Day
Our favourite little escape from Rio. These two stunning beaches on the western edge of Rio are the best choice to spend a few hours away from the urban jungle. Backed by mountains covered with Atlantic Rainforest, pounded with surf, this wonderful natural setting is more Costa Verde than city, augmented by regular visits from local wildlife. Both beaches have an excellent open-air restaurant each overlooking the waves. From these we have spotted eagle rays, sea turtles and even a collared anteater swimming in the waves! Seafood lunch with a view is an unbeatable way to pass the middle of the day on the beaches of Prainha and Grumari.
Rocinha Favela Tour - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: 3 Hours
The favelas of Rio are notorious worldwide with regular appearances in films, music videos and of course on the news. Rio has over 500 separate communities classed as favelas, which are basically illegal housing built on previously empty land, often on the precarious slopes of Rio’s mountains. Most people who live there lead ordinary working lives, and the communities work, rest and play the same as any other. Some overlook the main beaches of Rio and have stunning ocean views. A visit to a favela such as Rocinha, the largest of the favelas on these slopes, allows you a fascinating glimpse of community life in the ultimate urban jungle.
Tijuca Peak Hike - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Half Day
The highest of all the mountains in Rio is Tijuca Peak at 1,021m, and a half day hike to the top takes you from the upper car park inside the park gates to the summit. The 3km trail is comfortable for anyone with hiking experience, usually 1-2 hours up and an hour back down at the most. The trail is under lush Atlantic Rainforest, winding up around the rock until it clears for the final part. Steps cut into the rock, with a not completely trustworthy chain, take you to the top, where you can enjoy views looking over the city and Maracana Stadium or the Imperador Rock looking back at you. Tijuca Peak works well with a visit to the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Pedra da Gavea Hike & Climb - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Full Day
Rio has many peaks making part of the range of mountains that separate the city into North and South Zones. This is all part of the Tijuca Forest National Park. Pedra da Gavea is the most distinctive of them, the flat-topped rock named for the topsail on a sailing ship. This hike and climb is a full day for novice climbers, with some scrambling up through the Atlantic Rainforest section, then a little rock climbing before the final summit. Experienced climbers can try the vertical routes on the Imperador rock-face. The views from the top of the world’s largest coastal monolith are staggering, possibly the best in Rio, with a drop almost directly down into the sea.
Sugar Loaf Mountain Climb - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: 5 Hours
What better way to appreciate the views from the top of one of the world’s greatest viewpoints than having arrived there under your own steam? The hike and climb to the 396m summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain can be done by beginners in good shape. The trail from Praia Vermelha takes you around Urca Rock then up the granite shoulders of Sugar Loaf. A short rock section needs climbing before you arrive at the summit. The vertical faces of Sugar Loaf have serious routes for experienced climbers, arriving at the top just in time to spoil many a tourist photo of Rio! Climbing Sugar Loaf is undoubtedly the most satisfying way to the top.
Sugar Loaf Mountain Hike - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: 3 Hours
There is a middle way for Sugar Loaf as well, and a very pleasant route it is for those who appreciate a little hiking. The path around the back of Urca takes you alongside the ocean, with the sounds of the waves breaking below, and birds and monkeys for company, possibly with sea-turtles and rays exploring the coastline as well. The path then climbs up through the Atlantic Rainforest on a trail to the saddle between Urca and Sugar Loaf Mountains. From there, you climb the final part to the middle station at the top of Urca, continuing up to Sugar Loaf by the cable car. The return can be done the same way or by the cable car directly to Praia Vermelha.
Rio City & Santa Teresa Tour - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Half Day
This tour, visiting the city centre and the hillside Santa Teresa district is usually combined with one of the major Rio sights, Christ the Redeemer or Sugar Loaf Mountain. The views over central Rio from the Santa Teresa hills are fabulous, including from the Parque das Ruinas. After dropping down to Lapa, the Selaron Staircase is full of colourful tiles from around the world, placed by Chilean artist Jorge Selaron. The Lapa Arches take the pretty little yellow tram down to the city, passing the Metropolitan Cathedral and its impressive stained-glass windows. The historic buildings of Rio and the Municipal Theatre are also worth a look.
Dois Irmaos/Two Brothers Hike - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Half Day
The action begins with the hike up through the Vidigal favela to the top of Dois Irmaos, the Two Brothers peak overlooking Ipanema Beach. The first part is the drive up the winding roads through the hillside community to the trailhead. An hour of hiking through the forest brings you out directly above the Rocinha Favela, with spectacular views of there and Sao Conrado Beach. You continue the forest path to the summit, where you can enjoy the expansive views of Leblon, Ipanema, the lagoon and far more. The journey back down to sea level can include a wander through the streets of the favela for a fascinating look at life inside the ultimate urban jungle.
Rio Boat Tour - Rio de Janeiro
Duration: Half or Full Day
There are many spectacular views of Rio, but one of the best angles is undoubtedly from a boat in Guanabara Bay or during the trip to the Cagarras Islands just offshore. There are many possible routes, ranging from the quick trip from Marina da Gloria out around the bay, with views of Rio and across to neighbouring city Niteroi, to trips (on days of calm sea!) out to the offshore islands, or further along the coast past Niteroi to land on one of the beaches and have lunch. Boat trips can be done privately by motor or sail, and also as part of a larger group by schooner.