Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu March 10 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | March 10, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    4 Ways for Nature Lovers to Enjoy Rio de Janeiro

    4 Ways for Nature Lovers to Enjoy Rio de Janeiro

    With lush tropical jungle, dramatic mountains and picture-perfect beaches, Rio de Janeiro has all the components for a picture-perfect adventure in the great outdoors. What’s more, Rio de Janeiro boasts a pulsating city energy — ideal for samba dancing the night away after an epic day of adrenaline-pumping adventures.

    Barra da Tijuca Rio de Janeiro

    If you’re ready to combine the best of cosmopolitan urban life with easily accessible outdoor activities, then you’ll love Rio de Janeiro. Here are a few excursions you won’t want to miss while you’re there:

    1. Rock Climbing

    You might be surprised to learn that Rio de Janeiro is considered to be one of the best destinations in the world for outdoor urban rock climbing. Head to the area around Urca for a myriad of climbing options, many of which are suitable for intermediate to advanced climbers. (Unfortunately beginner climbers will have more difficulty finding great spots to tackle.)

    Rock Climbing Rio

    If you’re up for the ultimate adventure, then try your hand at climbing iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. Most travelers opt to take the gondola to the top, but of course scaling the side of the mountain is always much, much cooler.

    READ MORE: An Eye on The Olympics: One On One With Henrique Alves, Brazil's Minister Of Tourism

    There are a few rock climbing tours that will guide you on the most popular spots in Rio. If you have the time, there are countless more climbing opportunities just a few hours outside of the city.

    2. Hiking

    One of our favorite things about Rio de Janeiro was tackling the numerous hikes in and around the city.

    Two Brothers Mountain Rio de Janeiro

    The short but intense climb up Dois Irmaos (located in the back of Vidigal) was always our go-to hike. Time your visit at sunrise or sunset for a particularly phenomenal view over Leblon and Ipanema.

    Alternatively, head to Tijuca National Park, one of the largest urban forests in the world. Here you’ll find hundreds of exotic plants and wildlife as you meander along the various trails. Rio’s highest mountain, Tijuca Peak, is also located in the park. From the top of the mountain, hikers can enjoy a 180-degree view of the nearby coastline.

    Tijuca Peak Rio de Janeiro

    3. Surfing

    For many, Rio de Janeiro is synonymous with world-class beaches. So it should come as no surprise that there are numerous surf breaks around the coastline, perfect for novices and experts alike.

    Surfing Rio

    For gentle and consistent waves that are easily accessible, try the Arpoadqr. With plenty of vendors offering surfboards for rent and lessons here, this is a great place for beginners to master surfing basics.

    Prainha, one of our favorites located south of downtown Rio, is an environmentally protected area and a pristine, white sand beach. The waves here can be daunting, but the turquoise water and large swells are perfect if you know what you’re doing.

    For a complete list of surfing conditions in and around Rio, this is a great guide.

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    4. Cycling

    If you’re an outdoor lover but not keen on an adrenaline-pumping adventure, then perhaps cycling is the perfect activity for you. Rio de Janeiro boasts some 250 km (155 miles) of bike lanes, along with over 600 BikeRio city bikes available for rent.

    08273 (Dylan Passmore)

    Photo via Flickr/Dylan Passmore

    The area around Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoa is always a popular place for families to bike. If you don’t mind competing with joggers, the cycling lane along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are also a leisurely way to enjoy the coast.

    There are a handful of biking tours in Rio that will take you to the city’s top attractions. Bike in Rio tours seems to be the post popular. Offering city tours, forest tours and beach tours, you’re bound to see a little bit of everything, all from the seat of your bike. 


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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