Rio de Janeiro
Alive and pulsating with energy Rio de Janeiro is a mesmerising whir of colour and relentless rhythm set on one of the world’s most envied natural stages. Watched over from afar by Christ the Redeemer’s iconic outstretched arms beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema live up to their world-famous reputations as some of the most scenic anywhere on the planet. Lie back on the golden sands to soak up the extraordinary setting - or watch on as muscled cariocas - locals - perform effortless athletic feats during casual volleyball matches. A trip up to Rio de Janeiro’s iconic art-deco statue of Christ the Redeemer is of course a must do - offering an extraordinary view of the city rolling out before your eyes. You’ll also want to take a cable car to swing by the top of Sugarloaf Mountain which juts sharply into the sky from nowhere. Brazil’s second largest city moves to an infectious samba beat and the famous thumping Carnival floods colour and floats down its streets each year. Of course Rio is also a city of sharp contrasts - and while the haves sun themselves on its famous beaches oceanic favelas rise up steeply into the hills behind. Tijuca National Park offers easy-to-access tranquillity immersing you in dense forestry and whopping birdsong. Later the fiery shades of sunset spread across the sky on a cruise along Guanabara Bay as you sail among islands emerging from the Atlantic’s rolling waves.