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Brazil:

The many wonders of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

When Rio is thought of, Carnival is the first thing that pops into most people's minds. It is an annual celebration, in the Roman Catholic tradition, that allows merry-making and red meat consumption before the more sober 40 days of Lent and penance. However, there is much more to Rio than just Carnival.

The first place you will want to go is to the Copacabana beach. It is very accessible and in the vein of the beaches in Miami or the Gold Coast in Australia; big wide and full of people soaking up the sun. If the beach life is not for you then you must try a guided hiking trek in Tijuca Park. This is a very striking park right in the center of the city. It is full of magnificent jungle. The forest was mostly cut down to grow coffee and tea, but in 1857 the flora was extensively replanted after the agriculture venture failed. It took slaves 30 years to finish the restoration! The park is certainly fantastic now. You will want to hike up to Parrot's Peak, which is two hours of energetic walking and uphill all the way. The last 15 minutes require you to scramble over steep rocks to reach the top, but it is worth the effort as the view of the city from the peak is inspirational.

Tijuca Park Video

If hiking is too tame for you then consider hang-gliding from the high ground in Tijuca Park to land on the famous Ipanema Beach. Hang-gliding is a major life changing experience at the best of times. Dangling from a nylon and aluminum kite and floating over the spectacular city of Rio then landing on one its most beautiful beaches is going to give you something to cherish forever.

Hang-gliding Video

You must not miss the opportunity to hike, or rather climb up, one of Rio's most prominent landmarks Sugarloaf Mountain. It is another huge peak in the city, but Sugarloaf Mountain is mostly solid granite. Not only will you encounter some very strenuous hiking on this trek, but you will have to make a fairly difficult rock climb at the top. This is why you must do this trip with a local guide to ensure you have all the safety equipment required to scale this extreme peak. The climb is even more difficult as it is very exposed so expect to experience outstanding views. Do not worry you will be in good hands the guides give excellent instruction. The views at the top of Sugarloaf are spectacular, magnificent, and breathtaking.

Sugarloaf Peak Video

Rock climbing Video

Just a two hour drive out of Rio and you can experience white-water river rafting. As you leave the city you will travelled through some not so nice areas, but this will give you a view into the favela of Rio that is not such a bright and shiny place. However, you will soon find yourself on the river and bouncing up and down on waves and rocks. The mostly warm and humid weather make the river the perfect place to be.

River rafting Video

Rio de Janeiro has many dimensions of fun, go and experience some. Join me as we continue exploring Brazil in my next article.


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