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 (email@example.com) 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
See a futebol (soccer) game at Maracana
Seeing a game at this famous stadium, built for the 1950 World Cup, was one of the highlights of our trip, you don't really even need to be a sports fan to get caught up in the excitement of the matches. At one time this stadium held 200,000 people (and that number may have been reached a couple of times in its history), seats have been removed and the capacity is around 100,000, still a heck of a lot of people!
We had heard so many cautionary tales about traveling to Rio that we decided to go on one of the guided excursions to Maracana with the same guide we did a day tour with the previous day. The cost is 50 reals ($25 US), most of which is for transportation as the face value of the tickets were 5 reals ($2.50 US). For me it was worth the extra cost of having guaranteed transportation, a local to explain some of the customs and a group of people to sit with.
The day we went, there were 2 semi-final matches, our guide said the more popular teams were already eliminated which might have partially explained the low attendance. But we sat for the first match with one teams group of fans and then moved for the 2nd game to another section that came complete with the own flags, plastic flags for the fans and a drum section. It would be impossible not to get caught up in their enthusiasm!!!! The 2nd match was tied at the end so it went to a penalty shootout and our team won-YEAH!
Vendors bring around drinks and snacks during the matches so no worries about going thirsty or hungry. But I wouldn't recommend the Globos, they taste like cardboard-blech!
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.
- National/State Park
- Hang Gliding
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.
An optional part of our tour was to go hang gliding from one of the peaks in Tijuca National Park down to the beach, one of our group of 4 opted to do this so we went up and watched as fearless person after fearless person jumped off the cliff. I thought the vultures circling around were an ominous sign but our fearless guy went ahead, got himself strapped into his gear and jumped off the cliff for the short ride down to the beach (the heavier you are the faster it will go). I think he paid $120US for the pleasure of flinging himself off the side of that cliff, it might be less if you booked separately without being on a tour but hang gliding is not an activity where you want to go with the cheapest guy!!!!
We passed on this, me because I had already tried parapunting in New Zealand and while the ride itself isn't that scary, the hour sitting around waiting for your turn was absolutely nerve wracking!
There's also an option to go via tandem parachute but as we were climbing up to get to the ramp where they launch there was an ambulance that went by, our guide said there were more accidents from using the parachutes than the hang gliders.
He reported back that the only scary part was running down the ramp, once he was in the air he said you really didn't have the sensation of being that high up, kind of how I felt when we went hot air ballooning.
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.
- Adventure Travel
- Hang Gliding
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.
A match at the Maracanã
On arrival in Rio one of the first things we wanted to find out about was: how to get tickets for a match at the Maracanã! We've followed our own team, Newcastle United, all over Europe but had never had the chance to go to a match in South America, and of course for all football fans there is something magic about Brazilian football, regardless of what team you support. So, we asked the question and were told that there was a game that very evening and a chance for tickets if we weren't too tired by our journey. We'd been travelling all night so of course we were tired, but never too tired for football! The game was exciting and the play very skillful. When we saw that Botafoga play in black and white stripes, as Newcastle do, we adopted them. And like Newcastle so often, they managed to turn a 1-0 lead at half-time into a 1-2 defeat!
But no matter - what really made an impression and made the evening special was the passion of the fans. In some ways this is the same the world over, but how it is expressed varies, and at the Maracanã passion means flags, as large and dramatic as you can manage. If you're a football fan in Brazil, of course you must go to a match. And if you're not a fan, go anyway - who knows, by the end of the match, probably you'll have become one!
I’ve seen tickets advertised on LastMinute.com, or try your guide or travel agent (if you have one) or local tour company.
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.
The Avenida Atlantica runs from Copacabana until Leblon, passing through Ipanema. This coastal road is where most cariocas jog, ride bycicles or walk. It's the best place to run, since it has amazing views, nice scenery, and the road is well mantained. Be sure to watch for jogger's red lights!!!
And also, if it's a sunny day, don't forget to bring your sunblock!!!
- Hiking and Walking
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 over Rio
One of the highlights of my trip to Brazil was hang gliding over Rio. I met a couple Canadians in my hotel who were planning this hang gliding adventure and asked me if I wanted to join in. Since I had seen the episode of The Amazing Race where they jumped off this mountain, I had wanted to do it, so I told my Canadian friends that I'd love to join them. I called Ricardo, the instructor, on his cell phone and made the arrangements. His company is called Delta Flight and Ricardo Hamond has been flying since 1987. He is certified by the Brazilian Hang Gliding Association and is a great pilot. However, if you ask him how long he's been doing this, he'll probably tell you that you're his first student (he's a funny guy). His English is great, so don't worry about calling him.
Since the weather was bad, we had to wait on top of Pedro Bonita Mountain in Sao Conrado for a couple hours before we could jump. I let the Canadians go first to make sure they would get their flight in since they had an evening plane to catch. This was a good idea, because by the time I was able to go, I was the last one of the day and Ricardo wasn't in a hurry to get another jump in (and collect the fee) so we ended up flying for about 25 mintues. It's an amazing experience and certainly the closest thing I've ever done to flying like a bird.
*** A SAD INCIDENT: In mid-November, 2003 (only a couple weeks after I was here) there was a fatal accident involving a tourist (a doctor from Manaus) and an instructor. Sadly, they both lost their lives in this accident and all tandem jumps were temporarily suspended in Rio pending the investigation of this tragic accident. They are back and jumping today, but keep in mind that life has no guarantees.
Surfing is definitely another option in Rio and the best spot (at least near Copacabana and Ipanema) appeared to be Aproador Beach near the rocks. The waves were decent here and the surfers were out in force.
If you didn't bring your own board, you can rent one from Spirit in Galeria River on Rua Francisco Otaviano, 67 in Ipanema. You can call them at 021 2267 9943.
Hiking up the Sugar Loaf...
..ore other peaks of Rio de Janeiro will give you a truly feeling for the city's beauty.
"Rio Hiking" offers guided hiking trips to most of Rio's peaks. The 5-hour Sugarloaf trip, which includes a short stretch of rock climbing, costs R$80 ($40). The 6-hour Pedra da G?vea hike offers terrific views, a waterfall in the middle, and an ocean dip at the end. Cost is R$110 (US$55). Less strenuous is the Tijuca Forest tour, which involves a jeep tour of the forest, stops at a waterfall and a couple of lookouts, and a 2-hour hike to Pico de Tijuca. Cost is R$110 (US$55), with the option of returning via the fascinating hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Guides Denise Werneck and Gabriel Barrouin know Rio well, speak excellent English, and are a delight to be with.
Rio Hiking Tours
Rua Coelho Neto, 70/401, Laranjeiras
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Zip: 22231-110 Brazil
Phone: 55 (21) 9721 0594; Fax: 55 (21) 245 4036
Aventuras Rio also offers hikes to the top of the Sugarloaf, the Corcovado, the Pico de Tijuca, and the Pedra da G?vea. Cost for each hike is R$50 (US$25), transfer included.
Other tours offered Hiking in Rio are:
Pictures and more info on some of the peaks:
Equipment: Have this info from the Internet:
"When you hike up the Sugar Loaf ropes/harnesses aren't necessary for the first leg, but for the route we took it was a nice safety measure. One almost vertical section was as difficult/staightforward as climbing a tree. Some guys were climbing without safety gear. The rock has huge "jug" holds for feet and hands. The other parts you can walk up with the aid of the cables. Make sure you go with competent people. If you start late in the afternoon to avoid the heat and burning rock surface, remeber to bring a flashlight. It woud really be a pain and possible dangerous to walk around without it in the evening. Water, snacks, and plenty of sunblock are important too. Have fun!"
- Adventure Travel
- Hiking and Walking
If using your hands is your specialty, then you can give volleyball a try. The beaches of Rio provide ample opportunities for recreation and you'll always see some locals engaged in a game of volleyball.
When I was visiting in October of 2003 the World Championship of beach volleyball was being held on Copacabana. Brazil is a world power in this sport and it's easy to see why when you realize how many miles of coastline and beach there are in this country and when you observe the enthusiasm with which Brazilians approach the beach lifestyle.