7 Adventure Activities to Try in Rio de Janeiro

Scuba diving Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has a diverse landscape of jungles, beaches, mountains, and urban terrain. This makes it the perfect destination for those travelers who are seeking adventure. We can guarantee when you visit here, you won’t have to spend a single minute in boredom. So, let’s get into our top seven adventure activities anyone visiting Rio de Janeiro should consider!

1. Go Rock Climbing at Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain has earned the nickname of being Rio de Janeiro’s “tourist jewel.” Every year, thousands of tourists visit this national landmark. The mountain stands at 1,299 feet high and offers spectacular views of Brazil from the top. And while most tourists opt to take the cable car to the top, another way to experience Sugarloaf Mountain is by climbing it. 

In the rock climbing world, Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the top climbing destinations. The mountain has over 270 routes to explore, ranging from intermediate to advanced levels. However, more beginner-level climbers might tackle the Sugarloaf Costao trail, which starts as a hike and includes a short pitch of rock climbing. 

We highly recommend looking at the weather before you get started on this adventure. Sugarloaf Mountain is open for rock climbing all year long, but the morning heat can be quite intense. 

Aerial views of Rio de Janeiro

2. Try Surfing the Waves

Rio de Janeiro is a major surfing destination. Almost everyone in Rio who can surf, does. And luckily, there are waves for surfers of all experience levels. Prainha Beach is one of the most popular spots with surfers. This small beach offers consistent, high waves all year round. Praia do Diabo is another excellent option for advanced surfers, but be warned, the currents here are powerful, so ask the locals if it’s safe to go into the water first. 

Beginners will want to make their way to the calmer waters at Arpoadar, Ipanema, and Quebra Mar in Barra da Tijuca.

Two surfers walking to the water on a beach

3. Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour

The Tijuca National Park is the world’s largest urban forest located in the mountains surrounding the city of Rio de Janeiro. Tourists love to explore the wonder and biodiversity in this national park. There are hundreds of plants and dozens of unique animal species, some of which are facing extinction. 

One of the best ways to explore the forest is on a jeep tour. These tours typically last several hours as you ride around to see monkeys, sloths, butterflies, and birds. You’ll stop to see waterfalls and viewpoints of the city and even options to stop and hike. It’s a beautiful way to see the forest and get into the thick of things. 

Two jeeps in the jungle for a jeep tour

4. Hang Gliding Over Rio de Janeiro

As we’ve mentioned, Rio de Janeiro is a wonderfully unique city made up of beaches, jungles, and mountains. If you want to go on an adventure that gives you a fantastic bird’s-eye view of everything, consider hang gliding. The city’s most popular spot for hang gliding is from Pedra Bonita, where you jump off a cliff 500 meters high. The tours usually last four hours and a certified instructor accompanies you. 

Two people hang gliding

5. Tree Canopy Course with Zip Lining

If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, consider this thrilling zip-lining course through the Tijuca Forest. Three zip lines are connected together, along with swings and challenges. The entire canopy course is a combination of fun and challenge and is divided into two difficulty levels: easy and advanced. At its highest point, you’ll be suspended 90 feet in the air. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours high up in the forest, feeling like you’re miles away from civilization. 

Man on a zip line in the forest

6. Hike Pedra da Gavea and Pico da Tijuca

Of course, we can’t talk about adventure in Rio de Janeiro and not mention hiking. The city has several fantastic viewpoints and it can feel so rewarding to conquer them. With dozens of hikes all around the city, you can find something for all skill levels. Morro du Urca (40 minutes) and Pedra Bonita (90 minutes) are some of the more popular easy hikes. 

If you’re looking for a challenge, consider Pedra da Gavea takes over two hours and includes lots of incline. The top even requires some scaling, but everyone says it’s absolutely worth the views. Pico da Tijuca is another fantastic trail. This route is a loop that takes hikers to the highest point of Tijuca Forest. The trail is challenging as it requires rock climbing and even holding yourself up by tree roots at some points. You’ll feel proud once you’ve made it to the top, though!

Woman sitting at the top of the Pedra da Gavea hike in Rio de Janeiro
Via @pedradagavea on Instagram

7. Scuba Diving in Arraial do Cabo

Small town Arraial do Cabo offers some of the best scuba diving locations in Rio de Janeiro. Visibility can be as much as 15 meters allowing divers to see turtles, beautiful fish, colorful reefs, and even sunken ships. And, it’s easy to find guided tours for beginner and advanced scuba divers. Don’t miss this opportunity to see everything that Rio de Janeiro has to offer below the water. 

Single scuba diver in a school of fish underwater

Now the only question left is to decide whether you can fit all of these adventures into your itinerary!