Rio de Janeiro has a majestic and cinematic beauty, with urban developments nestled between a magnificent bay and dazzling beaches on one side and an abruptly rising mountain range, covered by a luxuriant tropical forest, on the other. This unique landscape makes Rio one of the most beautiful cities in the world, justifying its title of "Marvellous City" (Cidade Maravilhosa). Rio's cultural life is intense and varied. Perhaps at no time is the city's festive reputation better displayed than during the annual carnaval which enlivens the city for three solid days with music, singing, parties, balls, and desfiles (street parades of brilliantly-costumed dancers performing the samba.)

Having being declared the capital city of scuba diving, the main attraction of Arraial do Cabo is the sea. Back in the annals of Brazilian history, Arraial was covered with brazilwood, a type of tree used to dye fabrics. The wood attracted foreigner smugglers, notably Dutch and French and from these times many shipwrecks remain: it is estimated that there are 88 wrecks in the area.

Not only are the crystalline waters off Arraial considered a diver’s paradise, but Praia de Farol, on nearby Ilha de Cabo Frio, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Brazil.

This itinerary is an excellent way to begin/ round off a horse riding holiday in Santa Caterina or the Pantanal.

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Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro

Arrival Rio de Janeiro Airport, Brazil, from here you will be met and transferred to your hotel the Praia Ipanema Hotel, at Ipanema beach or similar. 

Day 2 - Rio de Janeiro

Morning: Visit to Parque da Catacumba. Situated in 31 hectares of Altlantic forest close to Lagoa, Rio's beautiful city lake this part park, part open-air art gallery remains largely undiscovered by tourists. The park features tropical plants and nature walks alongside dramatic sculptures by local artists. A great place to escape the crowds. Look out for monkeys reclining on the park's benches and exotic birds overhead, and be sure to take the steep trail that leads past bamboo groves to a viewpoint with stunning vistas over the Lagao and out across to Ipanema.

For the adventurous types there are climbing walls, tree walks and zip wires.

Afternoon: You will be taken for a cable car ride to the top of the 396 metre high Sugar Loaf, an icon of Rio de Janeiro. From here you can really appreciate the city as well as magnificent views of the ocean, the bay, the surrounding mountains  not to speak of the exuberant tropical vegetation on this island mountain. Right underneath the mountain is a hidden coastal path where you can stroll along while appreciating the views over the sea and watch guenons and several species of humming birds. For the evening we recommend Churrasco BBQ Dinner at “Marius”, the most exotic place in town.

Day 3 - Rio de Janeiro

Morning: Pick-up at the hotel and drive up to the 710m high Corcovado Mountain with its world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue which, together with the Sugar Loaf, are Rio de Janeiro's best known symbols. From up here the panoramic view over the city of Rio de Janeiro, including the Southern and Northern Zone, is unique. Afterwards you will drive through the Floresta da Tijuca National Park, the world's largest tropical urban forest. You will enjoy breathtaking views, waterfalls and exuberant tropical vegetation of the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest. From here you will be taken to the Jardim Botânico, founded in 1808. It is considered one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the world. A leisurely stroll leads through 7200 species of flowers, plants and trees. The garden is designed as a landscaped park and is beautifully embedded at the foothills of the surrounding mountains. Return to the hotel in time to jump the famous Copacabana waves in front at your hotel.

Afternoon: Leisure time for shopping and sightseeing.

Evening: Dinner and Samba Show at Plataforma Show House.

Day 4 - Rio de Janeiro to Arraial do Cabo

After breakfast and check-out you will be taken by road to the fishermen village of Arraial do Cabo, located in the “Região dos Lagos”, 3hrs north-east of Rio de Janeiro. To get there you will be crossing the 13kms Guanabara Bridge, offering spectacular views over the bay. Upon arrival in Arraial do Cabo you will be checked in at the Hotel Ocean View or similar. Welcome drinks on the sea view terrace.

Offering some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, Arraial do Cabo invites for immediate action! A chartered boat takes you for a round trip to As Prainhas and Ilha do Farol where you will spend the afternoon. Refreshments are on board. A wonderful start to the evening is watching the spectacular sunset at Praia Grande beach, while sipping a decent Caipirinha, the Brazilian national drink.

Day 5 - Arraial do Cabo and Cabo Frio

We suggest spending the morning on Praia do Forno beach, located right over the hill, behind the guesthouse. This beach is really something special, offering white sand and crystal clear water, excellent conditions for snorkelling along the rocks. Later on a boat comes to pick you up from the beach and takes you to a floating restaurant for lunch. Upon request we could also arrange for a scuba diving.
The afternoon activity is a cultural excursion to neighboring Cabo Frio, where you will visit the São Mattheus Fortress, built by the Portuguese in 1620, the Nossa Senhora da Guia Chapel and São Benedito Church, both from the early 18th century and the Itajuru channel and lagoon. We suggest dinner at a charming Restaurant in the colonial style neighborhood of Passagem in Cabo Frio.

From here you will be taken for a visit to Buzios. Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders the town prospered and became a picturesque fishing village, elected one of the 10 most beautiful areas in the world, famous for its unique combination of sophisticated charm, rustic heritage and incredible beauty.

Day 6 Arraial do Cabo to Rio de Janeiro 

Departure to Rio de Janeiro airport for your onward travel.

Please note that this itinerary can be altered due to prevailing conditions at the time of travel.

We can offer a number of itineraries and can tailor make your trip according to your preferences. Please enquire for alternatives.


Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Rider requirements

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

British nationals are normally admitted to Brazil without a visa as tourists or business visitors for an initial maximum stay of 90 days. You should retain your immigration landing card (green) and enough cash to pay the US$38 or R$ 115 airport tax, if this has not been paid with the airline ticket; both the landing card and payment of the airport tax are required to leave Brazil.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0230/ 0233 or

In the UK the Brazilian Embassy Consular Sectioncan be found at: 3rd and 4th Floor, Samuel House, 6 St Alban's Street, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SQ, tel: (020) 7930 9055 web site:

In Brazil the UK Embassy can be found at, Setor de Embaixadas Sul, Quadra 801, Conjunto K, CEP 70200-010,Brasilia – DF, Brazil Telephone: (55) (61) 3329 2300, local opening hours Mon-Fri: 0830-1730, Website:

Climate Summary

Rio has a tropical savanna climate that closely borders a tropical monsoon climate, and is often characterized by long periods of heavy rain from December to March. In inland areas of the city, temperatures above 40 °C are common during the summer, though rarely for long periods, while maximum temperatures above 27 °C can occur on a monthly basis.

Along the coast, the breeze, blowing alternately onshore and offshore, moderates the temperature. Because of its geographic situation, the city is often reached, especially during autumn and winter, by cold fronts advancing from Antarctica, causing frequent weather changes. It is mostly in summer that strong showers provoke catastrophic floods and landslides. The mountainous areas register greater rainfall since they constitute a barrier to the humid wind that comes from the Atlantic.

The average annual minimum temperature is 21 °C, the average annual maximum temperature is 27 °C and the average annual temperature is 23 °C. The average yearly precipitation is 1,175 mm.

Average annual temperature of the sea is 23–24 °C, from 22 °C in the period July–October to 26 °C in February and March. The wettest and driest months tend to be December and August respectively.


At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance. While cases of the Zika Virus remain predominantly in Brazil and Ecuador, there have been reports of cases in Mexico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cape Verde.
Whilst the symptoms of the Zika Virus are usually mild, customers are recommended to take the strict insect bite avoidance measures. This is particularly relevant if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, suffer from a severe, chronic medical condition, or have a medical condition that weakens your immune system.

Customers due to travel to the affected areas should monitor the World Health Organisation website for further updates and advice.
Customers planning to become pregnant should discuss travel plans with a healthcare provider to assess the risk of infection and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Customers who are already pregnant should inform their obstetrician or midwife if they have recently travelled to a country where Zika is known to occur.

Tap water is heavily treated giving it an unpleasant chemical taste but is safe to drink in most urban areas providing it has been passed through a charcoal filter system; you should check with your hotel/restaurant management before drinking tap water. Tap water in remote areas can be unsafe even if filtered; stick to bottled mineral water, which is available virtually everywhere.

As a preventative to Dengue fever you are advised to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents. Malaria is also a risk in some northern parts of Brazil. You may need to take anti malarial medication, depending on the areas to be visited. Take medical advice before travelling.

You are recommended to have good medical insurance.


Electricity 110/220V 60HzHz. Electric Plug Details: European plug with two circular metal pins, American-style plug with two perpendicular flat blades above a circular grounding pin, Japanese-style plug with two perpendicular flat blades.

Departure Dates

All year round on request

Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Other Country Information

Around 156,000 British nationals visit Brazil each year.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Rio De Janeiro Airport, Brazil
Included from meeting point
Flight Guide:
From London to Rio £500- £700