Skip to content

Top Outdoor Experiences In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

This was a main highlight for me during my solo travels in Brazil. 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.

Pin this post for later

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

Blogging Courses

Want to live your best life through travel?

Subscribe for FREE access to my library of fun blogging worksheets and learn how to get paid to travel more!


1 Comment

  1. jess2716 on at 2:00 pm

    @armida: Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment