Exploring Rio de Janeiro by Helicopter

Rio de Janeiro has one of the most unique and beautiful topographies in the world. Just off the sea you’ll find large dark oblong-shaped rocks surrounded by the lush tropical green forests. Oh, and don’t forget the miles of soft sandy coastline boasting some of the most famous beaches in the world: Ipanema, Leblon and of course, Copacabana.

The most magical way to explore the Marvelous City is by helicopter. The best company in Rio to fly with is Helisight. There are nine different flights ranging from R$150 (USD $60) to R$875 (USD $365) per person. The accept cash and credit cards (including American Express). There are also two heliports, Sugar Loaf and Lagoa. We DO NOT recommend using the Sugar Loaf heliport unless you plan to make a day of visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain and don’t mind a little chaos. We DO recommend using the Lagoa heliport. There are no lines, no traffic and the area around you is calm and absolutely beautiful! If fact, you can see Christ the Redeemer from the heliport in Lagoa.

Rob and I took a tour that brought us from the Lagoa heliport, down Ipanema, around the corner to the infamous Copacabana beach with the grand finale being the twice around circling of the most famous “new” wonder of the world Christ the Redeemer. It was one of my favorite experiences in Rio. Here’s a little video of our helicopter flight.

Ipanema by Air from Jet Set Life on Vimeo.

Christ the Redeemer from the air. from Jet Set Life on Vimeo.

Here are a few tips for your helicopter trip:

#1: All flights are for a minimum of 3 people. If you can’t find anyone to go with you then you can wait 30 minutes for them to sell the remaining seats. If they can not sell the remaining seats then you can fly without paying for those seats yourself. If you want a private helicopter and are unwilling to wait the 30 minutes, then you must pay for the third seat.

#2: Bring your camera and video camera. You’re able to take as many pictures as you want.

#3: Make sure it’s a clear day. In Rio often there are low hanging clouds. You want to get the most out of your helicopter ride and visibility is key, especially when circling Christ the Redeemer.

#4: Which ever package you choose, make sure it includes Christ the Redeemer. You’ll fly so close you’ll think you can touch the statue!

If you DO plan to use the Sugar Loaf Heliport then know the following:

#1: Arrive very early and get in line to take the cable car to the first rock station. This is where the heliport is located.

#2: The tickets for the cable car are NOT included in your helicopter price. They are about R$20 per person.

#3: There is often a lot of traffic getting to and from Sugar Loaf. During high tourist periods, plan a little extra time.




  • Reply
    Enduring Wanderlust
    December 31, 2008 at 10:16 am

    NIce tips, Kim. I really love the video of the helicopter. That’s definately one of the best ways to see any city. The heliport tip is duly noted. ~Gennaro

  • Reply
    March 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Hello to all ! Greetings From Poland. very Good Page !

  • Reply
    Benny the Irish polyglot
    January 23, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Extra tip for those interested in a bit of hiking: you can get to the top of Morro da Urca (the first peak of the Sugar Loaf, which is technically the second higher peak) just by walking there, but it’s a steep hike (although quite short, just 20 minutes) up the side of the mountain. Saves you the price of the cable car ticket and gets your heart pumping before you sit down on the chopper.
    I never took that ride myself (out of my budget), although the helicopter did fly right over my flat in Urca every day (that the weather was nice).
    Sorry I missed you on your visit to Rio, I was there before the peak season of NYE and Carnaval and glad to see Rio as it truly is without the rush of tourists. It’s an amazing city and I love Cariocas!
    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
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