[R]io de Janeiro, the bustling metropolis at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer Statue and along Guanabara Bay, is also known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city) and for good reason.
Rio is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere and is widely heralded for its spectacular natural surroundings, its glistening beaches, carnaval, rambunctious nightlife, and the friendly attitude of the local cariocas.
Rio has long been a popular tourist destination–indeed, the most popular in South America–but has further catapulted into the wider international imagination as the recent host of the World Cup as well as for the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.
Whether you're just passing through or settling in for a longer stay, one of the best ways to get to know a new city is to have a local show you around for the day.
Rio Cultural Secrets was founded in 2012 and has grown to become one of the top tour agencies in the city which specializes in private tours catered exclusively to you and your friends or family.
They offer a variety of private tours in Rio de Janeiro with professional tour guides that are fluent in English, along with private transportation in comfortable vehicles.
All of the tours are meant to be fun and informative and will show you some of the hidden treasures of the Marvelous City.
Get to know the historic center of town with a private tour which will transport you through the history of this vibrant global city from the days of the Monarchy up until the Republic.
Rio Cultural Secrets' walking tour begins at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro and includes visits to the San Antonio Convent, the XV November Square, Cinelândia Square, the Opera House, and many more culturally important landmarks during this four-hour tour.
You'll even have time to swing by the famous Cafe Colombo for coffee and a sweet treat.
If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city for a few hours, you should definitely consider a visit to the Tijuca Forest.
Rio Cultural Secrets offers a private tour along with transportation up to this hand-planted rainforest which is also the world's largest urban forest.
This four-hour tour includes a visit to the Taunay waterfall, spectacular vistas of the Marvelous City from the Chinese Overlook where you can see Corcovado Mountain with the Christ the Redeemer Statue as well as Sugarloaf Mountain, and it is capped off with a visit to the Botanical Garden.
Rio Cultural Secrets offers a handful of other engaging and informative tours in and around Rio including the favela Vidigal tour where you can learn about life in the shanty towns and how things are changing, or a visit to the Petropolis, the former summer residence of the Brazilian Emperors.
Indeed, Rio has so much to offer visitors that it can be difficult to find time to take it all in.
Going with a tour guide can truly help you maximize your time in a new city allowing you to see more and learn more than you otherwise would be able to do on your own.
There are a variety of tour operators that offer large group tours of the city and surrounding area, but if you're looking for the attention and dedication of a private tour guide that will cater to you and your questions be sure to reach out to Rio Cultural Secrets.
They would love to help you connect with the history, culture and amazing sights that Rio has to offer with their private tours in Rio de Janeiro.
This post was published in partnership with Rio Cultural Secrets.