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Walking tour of Rio de Janeiro
Take a guided wander through Rio’s historic core, with its belle époque architecture and bohemian neighbourhoods.
Think of Rio and beaches usually spring to mind, but look beyond Copacabana and you’ll find there’s a surprisingly vibrant, eclectic historic centre within Guanabara Bay. Santa Teresa - perched above the city with narrow lanes lined with the crumbling mansions of its original wealthy inhabitants is an arty, atmospheric place, with Portuguese-style botecas (bars) and walls festooned with graffiti and street art. Here you will have panoramic view over Rio before descending alongside the famous Arcos de Lapa aqueduct which now carries the city's refurbished old wooden trams.
Stroll around the centre, viewing the 215 tiled steps of the Escadaria Selarón, constructed in the colours of the Brazilian flag using tiles from around the world and which connect Santa Teresa with Lapa's colonial-era theatres, churches and ornate, ochre-painted townhouses.
Beyond, you'll see how Rio’s downtown area is a honeycomb of evocative colonial streets, gradually being spruced up and filled with open-air literary cafes and atmospheric little bars. Cinelandia hosts the Municipal Theatre with its gilded eagle, the National Library and Fine Arts Museum as well as a host of pavement restaurants where office workers wind down after work. This is all in contrast to the busy Avenida Chile and the concrete Brutalist-style Cathedral, built in 1979 in the shape of an upturned flower-pot.
A visit away from the beaches of the modern Zona Sul hotels and beaches really helps you to gain a completely new perspective of this ever-evolving metropolis.
Rio de Janeiro
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Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.