I've previously visited Rio, so wanted to get off the beaten path a bit to explore the city a bit more, and Diana was a fantastic tour guide for this. She is warm and outgoing, with a natural enthusiasm that makes her fun to be around and has a deep knowledge of Rio too. Among the highlights, we took a trip to Praia de Joa in Barra de Tijuca, a gorgeous gem of a beach that is only open certain times of the year. We also went to the Floresta de Tijuca, apparently the largest urban forest in the world, where there are some stunning waterfalls and dozens of trails and you can even hike to Corcovado (where the Christ statue is) if you have the time.
Capping it off, we took a boat outing on the Lagoa de Tijuca to have lunch at the Ilha de Gigoia, where we passed submerged alligators and cranes and crabs nesting among mangrove trees. It feels ages away from busy Barra, even though it is only 15 minutes away from the heart of the neighborhood. It is also apparently a bit of a hidden secret even to cariocas who have lived in Rio all of their lives! All in all, it was an amazing trip and I would definitely use Diana again. She is so organized and prepared and conscientious about making sure everyone has a good time. She also knows of other trips that aren't in the usual tour books on Rio, so I will definitely be using her again the next time I am back in the city!
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