Parachuting & Hang Gliding
My cousin took me to the top of Pedra Bonita for the views, but after we got there he explained that this is the take off point for parachutists and hang gliders. The winds, I am told, were awesome the day we went up, so there was a long line...25 people. We sat and watched a few hang gliders take off and a few parachutists start their descents. It was pretty cool. There are a number of companies that offer this service to tourists, as I saw many people trying this for the first time.
Equipment: Money to pay your guide, unless you are there to watch, which is free.
- Hang Gliding
Beach Workouts at Barra Praia
There is a nice bike lane between the walkway along the beach and the coastal road (Lucio Costa Av). The nice thing is it is separated from the road, so it is very safe. Watch if you are walking across this lane, as there are many runners and bikers getting their daily workouts in.
Equipment: Bike or running shoes
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
I am told that Barra da Tijuca beach is one of the favorite spots for surfers, along with a top spot for bodyboarding, windsurfing, and fishing. I frequently saw surfers out riding the waves, and I would say these waves looked much better than the waves I got used to in Southern California.
Lots of kids had body boards and were playing on the edge of the water, and I didn't see windboarders...but I am told they are hanging around here at times.
Equipment: Surfboard or Bodyboard
Hiking Pao de Acucar
With much of my time taken up with family events (parties, lunches, dinners, barbeques) I told my wife I needed to get out for a day of hiking. As usual, I talked to my cousin Thiago, who is the expert adventurist in the family. We decided to hike Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf), although there was a little rock climbing involved.
The start of the hike is a nice stroll along a paved path. Next, the pavement ends and the dirt trail starts, but this is fairly easy stuff for a while. The verticle-ness (I know that isn't really a word) increases and the hiking becomes more strenuous, but the views are amazing...the ocean, the islands, Niteroy, the forteleza, interesting plants and trees, birds gliding overhead...it is awesome! About 3/4 of the way to the top is the most difficult part, and I would not have done it without the rope and harness that Thiago brought. He went first and brought the rope to the top, and I followed...quite slowly, as I am not really a climber, just a hiker. Near the top, we met up with a paved path and walked the sidewalk up to the amazing views from the top. It was a great day, topped off by a barbeque at Thiago's parents!
Equipment: Hiking boots
snacks are a good idea, but not required
- Mountain Climbing
- Hiking and Walking
Hang Gliding over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This was one of the highlights during my last stay in Rio. I met the owner of Rio Hang Gliding who’s also one of the pilots, one day down in Lapa during a party night. At first I wasn’t much interested in jumping off a cliff with a total stranger. But slowly he talked me into it and at the end I agreed to be picked up at my hotel on the next afternoon.
They picked me up right on time and after signing a disclaimer at the national H. Gliding authority they took me up to the launch site which is a beautiful spot inside a national park. I confess that I was quite scared at first but after the instructions and watching others go our turn was up and after a short sprint on the launch path we were already airborne and flying above take off. I never thought that it would be possible to gain height without an engine, this was great. The best off all was that, while others were flying downhill quickly my pilot said to me that he would fly me for half hour since the conditions were good enough. That’s what really caused me to right this review, these guys don’t just promise you a long ride they really deliver it!! The views were amazing and the landing very smooth. Next time I’ll come to Brazil I will be flying again. I really recommend everybody to try this at least once it really makes you feel alive.
Equipment: Dress casual but no high heels, flip fops or skirts. If it's sunny don't forget to aply sunscreen before leaving the hotel.
- Hang Gliding
- National/State Park
Bicycling along the beach
Bicycling along the beach would definitely be on my to do list when I visit Rio again next time. The beach was very long and it took me several hours to do a round trip but it was definitely worth the trip. Not only you get to observe the spectacular views but it was also a great way to burn calories from having all the Brazilian BBQs.
I recommend renting bicycles from Andre (contact # below). Although Andre doesn't speak English well, he brought a bicycle to my hotel exactly at the time he promised.
Hang Gliding in Rio
Hang Gliding was one of the reasons I visited Rio and I contacted Paulo Celani a week before I arrived in Rio to make sure that I don't miss the opportunity.
The conditions for flying depended on the weather and we had to call it off for few times. According to Paulo, cloudy days can be even better than very sunny, clear and hot days.
On my third day in Rio, we flew from Pedra Bonita Ramp, located at the Tijuca Forest National Park, at a height of 1700 feet (520 meters) and landed on Sao Conrado "Pepino" Beach.
The flight lasted about 20 minutes. According to Paulo, the flight time depends on the wind and the weight of the passanger. Weight limit was 220 pounds (100 KG).
The whole trip took approximately about 2 hours to be back at my hotel. They picked me up from my hotel at 10am and gave me a ride back around noon. According to Paulo, the best time is between 9am and 2pm when we have the chance to get better wind and stay longer in the air.
Paulo and his hang gliding instructors were all certified instructors by the Brazilian Hang Gliding Association and they were all insured instructors.
Previous experience was not required to go on a tandem hang gliding flight. On the ramp, right before the flight, they gave me all the explanation necessary for the take-off, flight and landing. All very simple and easy. It was not cold during the flight and I was fine with a t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes. According to Paulo, you can also wear sandals that can be tied to your feet.
You can make your reservation in advance by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can call Paulo at 9985-7540, 9798-1804 and at night to 2268-0565.
The cost for the hang gliding was R$240 (US$100) and this included the transportation from and back to my hotel. The optional fee for photo was R$60 and for DVD was R$150, which included the photo.
- Hang Gliding
Futebol at the Maracana
It's part of the legend, but soccer (futebol in portuguese) has a very big importance in the life of the Brazilians. So you should definitly not leave Rio without having seen a game at the Maracana stadium and shouted "Goallllllllllll " in the Brazilian way !
The games usually take place on Sunday afternoon. The 3 major teams of Rio are : Flamengo (red and black alias "Fla"), Vasco (my team, Black and White) and Fluminense (red, white and green alias "Flu"). They are of course big rivals. Flamengo has the largest number of supporters.
The Maracana is worth the visit in itself, since it is the biggest stadium in the world ! It used to be able to host almost 200 000 people. Nowadays, it would need a big renovation but it is still impressing.
The problem is that because it is so big it always look half empty even it there are many people. Except for big finals. To see the stadium at its best, try to catch a local derby like the famous "Fla-Flu" !
Personally I've been there many times and never had any problems of violence. So you can go there by yourself, the tickets are very cheap and you buy them directly at the stadium before the game. But if you're a bit scared you can go with group tours that pick you up at your hotel/hostel. I did the one with guide Luiz Carlos, which is fun and mostly for backpackers.
Hang-Gliding from Pedra Bonita
After a brief training with the instructor, you can have a wonderful double flight surrounded by the beautiful mountains and beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
It is highly recommended for those who are not affraid of heights.
São Conrado is abeautiful area where you can have a magnificent view of Rio.
Equipment: Many hotels or travel agencies offer this trip and they include the necessary equipment, instructor and instructions.
Otherwise you can look for a trained professionals (make sure he is certified and licensed).
With the champion in the skyes of Rio!!
This was the best of my days in Rio!! These guys know what they're doing. Konrad the owner of the company is a great instructor who's been flying for over 18 years having archieved to be national champion in 2001. The adventure is amazing first we drove up in the guys top restaured VW Beetle (the old kind) trough the tropical forest of the national park, it's like a roller coaster climb. Once we reached the take off platform we'd practiced for Launch and he explained me more about the whole thing. Once we got in the air it was amazing, undescribeable!!!It isn't scary at all, every body can do it!!!
Since I hired the best pilot we were able to stay in the air much longer than others. He sayed that's because I'm a light person and that the conditions were awesome allowing us to stay longer in the air.
After we landed on the beach he handed me a roll of film and a DVD (extras but well woth the $60,00).
On some of the pictures I have the Sugarloaf and the Christ statue on the background and the DVD I've shown my folks 1000's of times.
This adventure was woth every penny I spent on it!!!! Thank you Konrad!!!!
Equipment: The guys are pros and bring you everything you need for the flight helmet, harness etc.. But remember to bring shoes or sandals that won't fall off and apply sunscreen.
- Hang Gliding
- Gay and Lesbian
- Women's Travel
There are 2 main types of Capoeria: Angola and Regional. I have just started practicing Angola (a more controlled and slow moving version while Regional is faster and more aggressive). It is an amazing sport and fun to do. The movements aren't like anything I have ever done before. I highly recommend either watching a practice or Roda or joining in on a practice.
The group I meet with is very relaxed and everyone is entitled to a demo (free) class.
So check out mine or find one near you!
FYI: We have traditional Rodas every Saturday at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to watch
Equipment: No shoes needed. Wear workout clothes if you do not have Capoeira pants. Be prepared to work your ass off.
Climbing at Urca
Urca (the base of Sugar Loaf) offers more then just a running/walking path. This spot offers numerous types of climbing. For those without ropes or who need to practice more, there are spots where you can do horizontal climbs. This is also a great spot to warm up. For more advanced climbers there is an amazing rock on the water that will challenge even the best. There is also a third spot that is perfect for negative climbing work and mid-level climbing. Just look off the path towards the water and you'll see the climbers.
Equipment: For all climbs other then the horizontal you're going to need someone to lead and all equipment. There are hooks already in the rock to use.
If doing the horizontal work you need someone to spot you if you are cautious but it isn't high at all.
One of the world's most famous futebol stadiums...
If you are a futebol fan (and even if you are not), it is worth it (en espanol: "...es vale la pena...") to visit Maracana Stadium. For about $8 BRL (less than $3 USD), you can enter the stadium, look out in awe of the magnificence of the place, and imagine yourself among 100,000+ Brasilians who are crazy about the sport...and rightly so!....
Equipment: There is a gift shop where you can purchase "official" jerseys and other items. As part of the admission fee, you can also view a great photo display exhibit that gives a terrific history about futebol in Brasil, and visit the stadium's locker rooms, where the players dress, shower, etc. (of course, this is during non-game times!)
In South America, futbol is religion. I think in Brazil it is raised yet another level if that is possible. Rio de Janeiro is home to the largest soccer stadium in the world, The Maracana. The stadium holds over 100 000 dancing, screaming and overall enthusiastic fans. Do to a break in the schedule over Easter I was unable to witness a game live here, only on TV. But if its anything like seeing games live in Argentina (which was wild) the it is something that you should not miss if you have the chance!
Hangliding is the bird eye of Rio de Janeiro
This was my first experience with "Asa Delta" = Alas Delta or hangliding and it was unforgettable!
Esta fue mi primera experiencia con alas Delta o parapente, y fue inolvidable!
It was like scaping reality. Basically putting your feet out of the ground and seeing the world from the eyes of a bird.
Fue como escapar la realidad. Simplemente sacando los pies de la tierra y mirando por los ojos de un ave.
The peaceful flight clear every thought out of my mind and I was able to breathe the extraordinary view of the beaches, the landscape, the mountains, the sky, the ocean. I even heard the sound of the Tucans in the forest. It was breathaking!
La paz del vuelo me dejo la mente despejada como para absorver la belleza extraordinaria de las playas, de los parques, de las montanas, del cielo, de oceano. Fue simplemente orgasmico!
The flight was so good that I went back hangliding the next day before I left Rio.
Fue tan bueno el vuelo que volvi el ultimo dia de nuevo a volar antes de irme de Rio.
I recommend it even for those who are afraid of heights. It is less scary than going up the stairs.
Lo recomiendo hasta para aquellos que tienen miedo a las alturas. Es menos miedoso que una subida a las escaleras.
Beto is the name of the guy I contacted and the flight with him is superb. The take off and landing were super smooth that any child would not be afraid. I was in the Clouds!
Beto es con quien me contacte, y el vuelo con el es magnifico. La salida y aterrizaje fueron tan suaves que cualquier bebe no tendria miedo. Yo me senti en las nubes!
Moreover it was the best deal in town he only charges $60 USD as supposed to $80 -$100 USD that others charge.
Ademas fue el mejor precio en Rio ya que el solo cobra $60 USD enves de $80 -$100 USD que otros cobran.
Equipment: The experts will provide you with the helmet, the safety jacket and the material you need
Los expertos te proveeran con un casco, casaca protectora y con el material que necesites
Bring a flat-soled shoes and confortable clothing that is not hanging out
Usa zapatillas o zapatos sin taco y ropa comoda que no este colgando.
The best way do this sport is to contact the Handgliding Expert who will pick you up and take you back to your hotel.
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