The ultimate party city, there is loads going on day and night, with excellent food (especially if you are a meat eater!), buzzing beach bars, street parties, live music and, of course, samba dancing. Many will schedule to visit during Carnival for several days and nights of non-stop celebration, but inflated hotel prices and terrible traffic during this period mean that a visit at another time could be a better bet.
In Rio itself there is much to see and do, and we recommend getting high up to get a good overview of the layout of the city. On a cloudy day visibility is obviously poor, so enjoy the opportunity on a clear morning to go up to Corcovado to encounter the extraordinary statue of Christ the Redeemer gazing out over the city. Alternatively go to Sugar Loaf - cable cars take you up the huge granite monolith for fantastic views in all directions. We recommend an early start to avoid the queues which build up as the day progresses - although if you are stuck in the queue you can enjoy watching the intrepid climbers taking a more difficult route to the top!
Of course the beaches, and most famously Copacabana and Ipanema, are the places to see the beautiful people (or be seen, if you are particularly beautiful yourself). Many of the city's key hotels can be found in this area: the Belmond Copacabana Palace, the Caesar Park or the super cool Fasano.
The ancient Atlantic rainforest is still present in the Tijuca National Park - take a four wheel drive 'safari' to enjoy beautiful scenery, great views and wildlife including monkeys and toucans.
There are many cruise options starting or finishing in Rio de Janeiro - it could be the start or end point of a South American cruise to the Chilean Fjords and Cape Horn, maybe even incorporating the Falkland Islands or Antarctica. It could be a cruise from the Caribbean, taking in the unforgettable Devil's Island along the way, or venturing up the mighty Amazon as far as Manaus. Or it could be a simple romp along the Riviera between Rio and Buenos Aires. Whichever you choose, an extension is worth considering if you don't plan to be back in this part of the world in the near future.
Brazil is such a huge country, flight distances are greater than you expect, and travelling around is expensive. You can fly into the Amazon basin via Manaus, although our inclination would be to access the most remote parts of the Upper Amazon from the other side of the Andes. Lovers of wildlife should definitely visit the wetlands of the Pantanal, flying into Cuiaba or Campo Grande and going on from there to stay in one of the rustic lodges. Certainly a flight to Iguazu is a must, with time to visit the amazing Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides: stay at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas with a falls view room for the most unforgettable visit.
Whatever you are considering, your expert cruise consultants at Mundy can assist with plans for the best bespoke itinerary to suit your particular tastes.