Urban walking tours are a big trend these days as more an more planners want to create a customized group itinerary that’s experiential, open to surprises, healthy and full of insight into the destination. The more layered and textured a city is, the better. In Rio de Janeiro, the independent company Rio Walks provides a quartet of alternative walking circuits for groups.
On the “Grand Bazaar Carioca” tour, attendees explore various cultural neighborhoods for a global shopping extravaganza, culminating at the Grand Bazaar Carioca, known as “Saara.” The bustling market is a multicultural hub in the center of the city, where Jews, Arabs, Africans, Chinese and other citizenry of the world work and live together in harmony. In fact, the neighborhood is often referred to as “The Little United Nations.”
Another option, the “Bay in Sight” tour exemplifies the Marvelous City through a multitude of scenic routes, giving participants views of the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain, Flamengo Park and Christ the Redeemer monument. If your clients want the postcard look at Rio, this is the tour for them. Without the endless bus ride.
“The main idea is to offer a sustainable tourism practice,” explains Rio Walk’s partners, Silene Berne. “Walking is an interactive experience. There are scents, textures, sounds and images which are not available for someone inside a vehicle—and this in itself makes the tour much more pleasing.”
It doesn’t stop there. The “History Lovers” tour situates travelers at some of the city’s most important historic monuments, including Mauá Square, Praça XV and the beautiful Municipal Theater. Modeled after the Paris Opera House, the famous venue entertained some of the most influential noblemen at the time and was often frequented by the Royal Family.
“Bar to Bar,” the fourth spot in the quartet of tours, probably needs no introduction. Among other things, groups will explore the birthplace of bossa nova and learn more about Rio’s popular bar or “boteco” culture. During the route, travelers \ visit the best classic and modern bars throughout Ipanema, Leblon and Gávea.
“The itineraries offer a different perspective, always trying to visit peculiar spots with rich attractions, but never overwhelming the costumers,” says Berne.