By Nicole Eberhard, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city of Rio de Janeiro’s geographic makeup lends itself easily to an active lifestyle. It’s no surprise then that the Cariocas are generally a sporty and active population. The bicycle paths running alongside the city’s beaches and around Lagoa are always full of cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and skateboarders, particularly on Sundays when half the coastal road closes to traffic.
The beach is also a hive of activity, with beach sports such as volleyball and footvolley providing an active outlet for those who are not content to just lie around and soak up the sun.
This naturally active lifestyle and the mountainous coastal landscape encourages adventurous travelers to enjoy a more unusual and energetic holiday. The city invites people to explore its natural attractions, beyond the traditional sightseeing circuit and Rio’s famous landmarks.
The beach is an easy place to start. Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is all the rage at the moment, and one can’t walk for an extended stretch along Copacabana or Ipanema without being offered lessons or a rental. To join in the craze, head to Copacabana’s Posto 6, where the water is flatter and easier to get into this social sport.
For surfers, the sport remains as popular as ever. Avoid the beginners and crowds riding the waves of Zona Sul’s (South Zone’s) beaches. Instead, hop on the Surf Bus and head west to find the quieter beaches of Barra de Tijuca, Grumari, Macumba and Prainha.
A good way to combine sport and sightseeing is to go kayaking. For those visiting Rio for the first time, a good place to start is with a kayaking tour. Paddle out the bay around Sugarloaf Mountain, enjoying spectacular views of the cityscape from the water. The effort of the paddle is richly rewarded with a stop at a secluded beach.
Those more comfortable on land are not short on activities to get the heart rate up either. For sightseeing and fitness, take a bike tour around the parks, lakes and beaches of the city. Alternatively, hire a bicycle and join the crowds on the bicycle lane next to the city’s beaches, or lace up a pair of running shoes and head for the 7.5km loop around Lagoa.
The biggest workout and greatest views, however, require a bit of height. Rio is not short of spectacular mountains, and great hiking and climbing routes. Ignore the queues for Sugarloaf Mountain’s cable car and instead get to the top of the iconic hill with a mixture of hiking and climbing. With four walls of pure rock face, hiking the Sugarloaf has a number of options for the beginner and experienced climber.
For a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding hike, head for Pedra da Gavea. Getting to the top requires summiting a granite monolith, so don’t expect a walk in the park. However, since this peak stands higher than Corcovado, there is the reward of breathtaking panoramic views of Rio. For anyone who isn’t an experienced hiker able to navigate a section of climbing on a rock-face, it is best to go up Pedra da Gavea with a guide.
With such a plethora of extreme sports and activities, there is plenty of motivation to leave the safety of the beach or the tour bus, get active like a Carioca and seek a more adventurous form of sightseeing in Rio.
*This is a Sponsored article written by Nicole Eberhard, English Content Editor for Rdj4u.com.