Private Rio Walking Tour with Historian
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Church of Santo Antonio: Rio's first Benedictine monastery and its church stand on a hill in the center of downtown, a hundred yards from the waterfront. The simple "Mannerist" exterior is a prime example of Brazilian colonial architecture, while extravagant gold leaf gilds the interior.
- Praca XV de Novembro: This vast square in Rio's most historic section commemorates the founding of the Brazilian Republic in 1889, and is lined by the Imperial Palace, Tiradentes Palace, and other notable colonial-era buildings.
- Confeitaria Colombo: Our journey through history pauses at this elegant, Viennese-style Art Nouveau tea room where, beginning in 1894, the city's elite gathered for spirited discussion over pastries and coffee.
- Cinelandia and more: We continue to the former cinema district and the grand Republican architecture of the National Library, the Municipal Theater, City Hall, and the Museum of Fine Arts, concluding at the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian.
- More than a guide: Even by GoBe standards, your tour leader is special. Known officially as "docents" (from the Latin for teacher), these Ph.D. and M.A.-historians or architects are the distance between sightseeing and true understanding.
- Your group, your tour: This private experience lets you tailor departure time, route, and pace to your group's interests. The tour usually runs about three hours, but even that's flexible.
About This Rio de Janeiro Tour
In just three hours, this downtown tour takes you through more than four centuries of Rio history, from distant outpost of the Portuguese Empire to modern hub of South American culture and commerce.
We begin at Rio's first church and monastery, its sober facade concealing a glittering golden chapel inside. Founded in 1590 on a hill overlooking what would become a bustling colonial port, Santo Antonio is the perfect launching point for a discussion of the city and its heritage.
That discussion continues at Praca XV, the huge, palace-lined square that marks a turning point in Rio history: the arrival of the royal family after Napoleon's 1808 invasion of Portugal, and the city's subsequent transformation into imperial capital.
We then work our way to the Confeitaria Colombo, the fabled Belle Epoque cafe where journalists, politicians, poets, and businessmen gathered at the dawn of the Republic. This is where we turn to the social aspects of Brazil's sense of identity, an evolution showcased by grand Republican-era civic architecture, which in turn evolved into the broad downtown boulevards of the modern cityscape.
We conclude at the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, named for the patron saint of Rio. Completed in 1979, its massive structure recalls pre-European Mayan temples, completing a journey through time expressed by architecture and enhanced by your participation and discussion.
Please meet your guide in front of the Rei do Mate take-away tea-house located at Rua Uruguaiana, #10, which is right on the corner with Largo Carioca and Rua da Carioca/Av Nilo Pecanha.
If you are taking the subway to meet your guide, take the exit for Access C (Convento de Santo Antonio). Once outside walk straight ahead in the plaza and look for the blue and white sign. Your guide will be waiting on the side which a news kiosk.
Bring change for your entry to the Chapel of San Francisco (about 5 BRL). As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind.
Plan to walk for approximately 2 miles at a gentle pace. This itinerary can be modified for your private group to accommodate wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Let us know ahead of time at Hello@GoBe.com.
Walking Tour, Cultural, Scenic, Family Friendly, Private Tour
Public transportation may be used from time to time. Have local currency available for tickets. Your tour may involve walking only.
Ph.D. or MA-level scholar guide
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
If you use a folding wheelchair, we'll do our best to accommodate you with at least 7 days advanced notice, providing you have someone along to assist you. Email us at Hello@GoBe.com. Accessibility at all venues cannot be guaranteed.
Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide.
Choose your date and time very carefully. Only a portion of this tour is refundable from the time of booking; within 72 hours of operation, it is fully non-refundable.
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