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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 25 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

In 2017 Rio de Janeiro was awarded its second World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Valongo Wharf (Cais do Valongo) is the former stone dock where, from 1811 onwards, an estimated 900,000 enslaved Africans arrived in South America – part of the greatest number transported to the Americas.

The archaeological site lies at the heart of a burgeoning area devoted to African-Brazilian heritage which includes new museums, cultural centres and the Pedra do Sal steps, where weekly live concerts celebrate the birth of Rio samba here in the 19th century.

Two of Brazil’s best walking tour companies offer guided visits to the area, which can include the Pedra do Sal samba shows.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

It is possible to visit Valongo and the surrounding historical attractions on a self-guided tour. The archaeological site (which is free to visit), lies 200 metres south of the Parada dos Navios tram stop in the city centre, along Avenida Barao de Tefe. The Pedra do Sal steps (where samba was born and shows take place twice weekly on Monday and Friday) are a further 200m south on Rua Camerino and Rua Sacadura Cabral.

The new Afro-Brazilian historical museum (MUHCAB – Museu da Historia e Cultura Afro-Brasileira) and Institute of Research and New Black Memory (Instituto de Pesquisa e Memoria Pretos Novos) lies half a kilometre west on Rua Pedro Ernesto.

However, with only a little information available in English and no onsite guides, a guided walking tour is far more rewarding. Bravietour offer the best and can organise a tour to include a visit to the samba concerts at Pedra do Sal.

When to do it

The wharf is open to visitors (and tours) all year round, seven days a week.

The live samba shows take place every Monday and Friday after 8pm. They can be cancelled if it’s raining, which is most likely to happen November to March.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Little Africa And The City Of Samba: Where Dreams Come True

Rio de Janeiro

Little Africa And The City Of Samba: Where Dreams Come True
Visit the most typical places of the first African cultural manifestations in the Americas. Take a new look at the two cultures, African and European, and its legacy in the arts, cuisine, dance and music, highlighting the Carnival. • Visit the City of Samba, or City of Dreams, an area where the Samba Schools develop the floats that will parade in the Sambodrome • Understand how celebrations of Catholic and African merged its cultural manifestations and producing the most famous Carnival in the world. • Visit the current region of the Port, which for decades received thousands of Africans from different ethnic groups, nations, and cultures. • Visit Pedra do Sal (Salt Stone), where the Community of Remnants of Quilombos is located and considered as Cultural Heritage. • Get to know Valongo Wharf, the largest African point of entry in the Americas. It has been submitted to UNESCO to become World Heritage.

Price: $97

Min age: 10

Rating 5 / 5 [5 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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