The Best Outdoor Adventures in Rio de Janeiro

November 2, 2017

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Companhia da Escalada. Image courtesy of the venue.

Rio’s dramatic combination of mountains, forests and coastlines pretty much demands that you get out there and enjoy it. Whether you like your activities with plenty of adrenaline or prefer something more laid-back, there are lots of options here.

Rio by Bike. Image courtesy of the venue.

Run by Dutch journalists Philip and Jan, the outstanding Rio By Bike offers daily bike tours (yes, the bikes are provided) conducted in English, Portuguese or Dutch. The tour covers routes through the beach neighborhoods as well as the historic city center, and is a great way for visitors to get a feel for the town.

Rio’s parks, boardwalks, gentle slopes and growing network of cycling paths have fueled a huge growth in the longboarding scene recently. Guanabara Longboard Escola in Gloría teaches lessons for all ages and levels of experience, and has boards for rent.

From lagoons and protected bays to beaches with world-class surfing, Rio is blessed with a long and varied coastline. Stand-up paddling (SUP) is a great (and far less strenuous!) alternative, if you’re not one for surfing. Surf’Sup has all the equipment and expertise to get you started — simply let them know which beach you prefer and they’ll bring everything to you.

Estilo Voo Livre. Image courtesy of the venue.

Given that the Tijuca Forest covers a huge area of the city, hiking opportunities. abound. While serious hikes are best undertaken with an experienced guide, if you want an easy, scenic route that doesn’t require assistance to navigate, the 30-minute forest trail to the Cachoeira dos Primatas waterfall can be followed independently, and makes a refreshing change from a day at the beach.

If you’re here to do some proper mountain climbing, try scaling Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). The only way to reach the top is by climbing, though there is a cable car if you’re feeling lazy. Rock climbing school Companhia da Escalada hosts classes for beginners and experts on Sugarloaf’s established routes, and has equipment and guides if you want to take on any of the city’s other peaks. Perhaps the ultimate way to appreciate the beauty of Rio is to look down on it from above. Estilo Voo Livre takes guests on tandem hang-gliding and paragliding flights from Pedra Bonita, a flight-path that affords breathtaking views of forests, favelas, mountains and beaches.

About The HUNT Rio de Janeiro Writer: In 2009, Tom Le Mesurier left London looking for adventure. Today, Tom lives in Santa Teresa and takes guests on culinary walking tours while sharing restaurant recommendations on his website, eatrio.net. When it comes to finding new bars and eateries, Tom likes to think of himself as a dedicated researcher, but really, he’s just greedy.

For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Rio de Janeiro on gatehousepublishing.com.

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