10 Breathtaking Adventures in Rio de Janeiro

Most people think of Carnaval when they think of Rio de Janeiro. Little do they know Rio has all sorts of culture, dancing, and truly memorable food! Take a trip on the wild side, and check out these one-of-a-kind adventures in Rio de Janeiro.

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Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro
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1. Go for a fly-by

Sugar Loaf Mountain, also known as Pão de Açúcar, is the place to go for a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. It’s the highest point above sea level in Rio de Janeiro, and you can take in the dramatic view via the traditional cable car, or be adventurous and take flight with either a helicopter or hang glider. Whatever means you take to soak in the scenery, make sure you go on a clear day in the morning to avoid long lineups.

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Brazilian fans at a soccer game
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2. Catch a football game

Brazil is definitely one of the leading countries in the sport of soccer. They call it football here and whether you are a soccer buff or not, make your way to the world’s largest soccer stadium, the Maracana. It’s a circular, open air sports arena which can hold up to 200,000 screaming fans. If you are lucky to be in Rio for a match, your experience at the Maracana will be electric!

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Steakhouse in Rio de Janeiro
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3. Grab a bite

Don’t leave Rio de Janeiro without dining in at least one of its many Brazilian steakhouses. These restaurants are referred to as “Churrascaria,” and they offer an endless amount of different types of meat, hand-cut right at your table! The waiters will often serve giant skewers of meat, from pork sausages and chicken legs, to beef rump “Picanha”. If you’re a meat lover make a reservation at the great steakhouse, Porcão.

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Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Mark Schwettmann/ShutterStock

4. Take in the view

Join thousands of visitors each year as you make your way via cog train to the iconic Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ (Cristo Redentor). This 38m high statue has become a symbol of Rio de Janeiro since being inaugurated in 1931. The statue sits atop Corcovado, which means “hunchback” due to the 710m mountain’s shape. Once at the top, the enormity of the statue takes your breath away, as does the glorious view of Parque Nacional da Tijuca below.

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Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro
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5. Get a little sun

Spend the day on the beach and see how the locals relax. The entire city heads to the beachfront on the weekends, so be sure to go early to reserve a prime spot. There, you can watch the locals play “fotvole” – a game similar to volleyball but played only with the feet. Or you can strut your beachwear on the “dragon tooth” boardwalks, a tiled design that is uniquely Portuguese.

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Hippie Fair Market in Rio de Janeiro
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6. Hit the market

If you are in Rio de Janeiro on a Sunday, be sure to stop at the well known street market, the Feira Hippie Fair. Located near Ipanema Beach, you can wander for hours and find a unique souvenir to take home. Peruse through the many stalls where local street vendors showcase their handmade jewels, from beadwork to pottery to wood carvings.

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Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro
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7. Explore the concrete jungle

Marvel at the grandeur of the city’s rich past in Centro. Considered the commercial district of Rio de Janeiro, Centro still retains its old-time feel with its cobblestone streets surrounded by beautiful architecture. Explore the old streets where you’ll have your chance to learn about Brazil’s culture and history at one of their many excellent museums, cultural centres, art galleries, and huge baroque churches.

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Samba dancer in Rio de Janeiro
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8. Dance it up

Samba is the music and dance of Rio de Janeiro. You can head to a Samba School for more formal dance training during your stay, or pick up some quick lessons at a Samba Club. Lapa used to be an area that was crumbling, but a revival of this part of the city has made it the hottest nightspot for samba. Most of the Gafieiras (dance halls) have a live band and host an introductory class before the dance floor opens.

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Parque Nacional da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro
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9. Get in touch with nature

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and hike your way through a little piece of paradise in the centre of Rio de Janeiro. Parque Nacional da Tijuca is one of the world’s largest urban forests, covering approximately 40 square kilometres. The park has lush greenery covering the coastal mountain range with numerous trails to waterfalls, natural springs and peak lookouts. It is also home to a wide range of plant species, birds and mammals, including the primate Marmoset.

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Yellow tram in Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Ksenia Ragozina/ShutterStock

10. Hop on a streetcar

The old, rickety Bonde (tram) is still in use here in Rio de Janeiro, and winds its way through the city from Centro to the charming cobbled streets of Santa Teresa. Now mostly catering to tourists, the 20-minute historic streetcar ride brings you through old sections of colourful colonial mansions. Once falling to neglect, this is now considered the bohemian hub of the city where artists have made their home and rejuvenated the area.

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