Getting Into Nature in Brazil’s Wild Rio de Janeiro


sugarloaf mountain

Climbing Sugarloaf Mountain with the cable car

Rio de Janeiro is unique in that it is a large city of over 6 million, but is not a concrete jungle. On the contrary, what visitors remember about the city are the breathtaking mountain views, natural scenery and spectacular beaches. It is safe to say the roughly 3 million visitors to Rio do not go to sit in a café or tour art museums (although there are a quality selection of museums); rather, most of the tours in Rio de Janeiro and the travel activities are for outdoor lovers, whether in shape or not. Compiled below is a list of Rio de Janeiro’s top outdoor experiences, where you can enjoy a wide range of activities from biking, hiking or simply relaxing and soaking in the view.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf, or Pão de Açucar, is the famous natural landmark present in most photos you see of Rio de Janeiro. It provides an incredible view of the ocean, mountains and city from the top. You can walk across the challenging trekking trails, or if you are more adventurous, hike at least a section of the largest urban climbing area in the world. For the less adventurous, a guided tour to Sugarloaf with a cable car ride takes you to the summit and provides you with an unforgettable view.

Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour

Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour

Corcovado Mountain In Tijuca National Park

A mountain that is famous less for its natural presence than for being one of the newest “7 Man-Made Wonders of the World” is the Corcovado Mountain, where you can visit the Christ the Redeemer statue. The towering structure is 130 feet high, and visiting is one of the top things to do in Rio. The Corcovado Mountain resides in Tijuca Park, where you can explore one of the largest urban jungles in the world offering a range of activities along with visiting the statue, such as taking a jeep tour, a trekking tour or just a peaceful guided tour to the top of the mountain.

Carioca's sporting

Sporty cariocas

Copacabana And Ipanema Beaches

What would a vacation in Rio be if you didn’t spend some time on the beach? Rio de Janeiro city has 42 beaches in total, with the most famous located in Zona Sul Ipanema and Copacabana. Here you are sure to many active cariocas, or native inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro, who are constantly playing sports, running and swimming. For a less crowded beach that is not as well-known but equally stunning, head to Praia Vermelha (Red Beach).

Dos Irmaos Mountain view from Ipanema

Dos Irmaos Mountain view from Ipanema

Parque Dos Irmãos

For some quiet time away from the noise of the city, head to Parque Dos Irmãos, meaning “two brothers” in English, located in the upper Leblon area. It is a quiet and well-maintained sanctuary where you have perfect views of Ipanema Beach, Leblon, the lagoon and the Christ the Redeemer. It is open everyday until 5pm, and entrance is free. Bike along the trails, jog or simply stroll and admire the views. It is also a perfect place to watch a colorful sunset.

rio botanical garden

Rio’s Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

The Jardim Botânico, or Botanical Garden, is one of the top parks to visit in Rio as it is a beautiful natural oasis located at the base of the Corcovado Mountain. The impressive sanctuary boasts over 6,000 species of plants and many greenhouses. Upon entering, you will be struck by the Avenue of Royal Palms, a line of 134 palm trees that stand 100 feet tall. Venture further along and you’ll see the beautiful Central Fountain. The garden is open everyday until 5pm for an entrance fee of R$5 (roughly $2.50).

Get ready to be blown away by the amazing landscape the city is surrounded by. Perhaps the best part about the city is it’s best enjoyed outside among the different landscapes, like mountains, beaches and jungle. If you’re active, you will not be disappointed with the amount of outdoor activities in Rio de Janeiro, and if you don’t plan to lift a finger during your vacation, Rio is also perfect for sipping a delicious caipirinha on the beach.



Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey ( and Epicure & Culture ( Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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