Rio From The Air


Rio Helicopter TourRio de Janiero has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world that are instantly recognisable. The statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks this sprawling city with the stunning Copacabana and Ipamena beaches, Sugar Loaf mountain and the world famous Maracana Stadium which will be the venue of the 2014 World Cup Final.

Anyone who has been up the base of the 30m tall statue of Christ the Redeemer will tell you of the stunning views over this famous city. However, it is possible to get an even better view….from a helicopter.

There are various companies in Rio offering different helicopter tours. The one I took departed from the lagoon situated a few blocks behind Ipanema. There was a bit of a queue as this is a popular way to see Rio but eventually I got on board for the relatively short trip. By nature, helicopter tours anywhere are short but the views are worth it.

Ipamena and Copacabana Beaches

Ipamena and Copacabana beaches in Rio de Janeiro

There were just 3 passengers on our helicopter so we all had a seat next to a window. The pilot took us out to the coast our Ipanema Beach where we could see the stunning blue ocean, golden beaches and even the hotel I was staying in. We flew along the beach towards the headland and the Parque Garota de Ipanema separates Rio’s two most famous beaches; Ipanema and Copacabana. At the far end of Copacabana, the distinctive shape of Sugar Loaf mountain was easy to see.

Next we headed over the statue of Christ the Redeemer which has looked down on the city for more than 90 years. It is a seriously popular place for visitors to go to get a view of the city but their view wasn’t as good as the one I had. Looking down on the view area, there was a mass of people swarming round the base the statue trying to get a spot to take a photo of the statue and the city below.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro

To the north, was another of Rio’s famous landmarks – the Maracana Stadium (Estadio do Maracana). Built for the 1950 World Cup, it was here that a world record 199,000 people watched Uruguay beat the host nation 2-1 to win the World Cup. Defeat did not go down well in Brazil and their goalkeeper, Barbosa, was blamed for the defeat by Brazilian society. Shortly before his death in 2000, Barbosa said the maximum sentence in Brazil is 30 years but he had been paying for something he wasn’t responsible for over the last 50 years.

In a few months, the World Cup will return to Brazil and the modern Maracana has been rebuilt and will host the 2014 World Cup Final.

Maracana Stadium

Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro

The helicopter tour was over all too quickly but there is something magical view the world from such a high vantage point. Was it more expensive that a land based tour – YES, was it shorter than a land based tour – YES……was it worth it – ABSOLUTELY !!



  1. Such an amazing opportunity to take such great pics of Rio! Was it difficult to get the shots?

    • Rob says:

      The pilot put the helicopter in some great positions for photos but the little window to stick the camera out of was only just above my knees. As I was strapped in to the seat, I couldn’t lean forward to look through the viewfinder so the photos were a bit hit or miss. If your camera had a pop out screen for a viewfinder, it would be a lot easier.

  2. Sonya says:

    Helicopter city tours can be so thrilling!

    • Rob says:

      HI Stephanie

      Yes, it was wonderful to see the city from the air. They aren’t cheap but I’m going to try to do helicopter tours at other places I visit in future.

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