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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

This hulking 842m-high granite monolith, Pedra da Gavea, towers above both Corcovado and Sugar Loaf; the 6-hour hike up through the wildlife-filled rainforests of the Tijuca National Park is ultimately rewarded with some of the best views in Rio.

Even in high season, you’ll share the experience with just a handful of other walkers. The catch is that it’s a half-day hike and a scary rope-secured scramble to the summit, making this a challenge solely for the vertigo-tolerant, fit, agile and wild at heart.

Climb in Rio lead a range of guided climbs up Pedra da Gavea for the more serious mountain climber.

Tijuca National Park

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil

Rio’s lush urban rainforest climbs over the mountains that surround the Christ statue and Atlantic beaches, affording some of the world’s most beautiful urban views. Excellent for hiking, biking and wildlife-spotting.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free

Price: Free
Minimum age: 18
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 6-8 hours

Getting there & doing it

The hike requires scaling an almost vertical wall of about 30m, so unless you’re an experienced climber, go with a guide/operator. Local hiking specialists offer daily full-day, 8-hour guided hikes to the summit of Pedra da Gavea. They’ll collect you from your accommodation.

If you’re going it alone (which is unadvisable), take a taxi to Estrada do Sorima, which leads to the entrance of the path (it’s not well marked, so you’ll have to look for it); if you’ve got a car, there’s parking here too. It takes 4-6 hours to reach the summit and return. Wear sturdy shoes with good grip, and take suncream and plenty of water.

When to do it

The trail is open all year round, but don’t attempt this when it’s raining heavily, as there is danger of landslides and the rock is obscured by dense cloud.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Pedra da Gavea Guided Hiking tour

Pedra da Gavea Guided Hiking tour

Rio de Janeiro

Pedra da Gavea is one of the most famous rock formations of Rio de Janeiro and the most admired adventure in the city. You will be accompani...

R280 | Rating 4.68 / 5 [51 ratings]

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Pedra da Gávea | The best trail in Rio

Pedra da Gávea | The best trail in Rio

Rio de Janeiro

 One of the most coveted trails in Rio de Janeiro, Pedra da Gávea is imposing in all its form, and to absorb everything it offers, it is nec...

R300 | Rating 4.82 / 5 [40 ratings]

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Best Hike in Rio: The Pedra da Gavea Hike

Best Hike in Rio: The Pedra da Gavea Hike

Rio de Janeiro

Experience the rush of adventure on the exhilarating Pedra da Gávea hike, located inside the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro. This world-ren...

R400 | Rating 4.96 / 5 [152 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

La Suite

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[1.7 miles]

Ducasse-trained chef is sumptuous. That’s a good thing, because alternative eateries, bars and the famous beaches are a 20-minute cab ride away.

Official star rating:

Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil[6.4 miles]

Rooms are modern, flooded with light, and decked out with Paulo Alpes furniture. The best have views of the sunset over the beach and the Morro dos Dois Irmãos mountains.

Official star rating:

Hotel Fasano

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[9.1 miles]

Effortlessly hip and elegant in a choice Ipanema location, this is one of Rio’s most luxurious beach hotels in an unrivalled beachfront location.

Official star rating:

Hotel Arpoador

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[9.3 miles]

There’s a rooftop sundeck with fabulous beach views, a small pool and the restaurant serves high quality comfort food including a huge breakfast (included in the price).

 

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Rio de Janeiro

Southeastern Region, Brazil

Heaven for healthy hedonists – hang glide, surf or hike by day, relax on the beach and party all night. Then, of course, there’s that carnival…

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Hang glide off Bonita Rock

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[1.3 miles]

Hang-gliding heaven from atop a giant rock monolith, and out over rainforest, bays and beaches. One of the world’s greatest hang-glides.

Best for ages: 14+ | £120 | 3 hours

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Tour a favela

Rio de Janeiro , Southwestern Region, Brazil[3.8 miles]

Get a deeper understanding of Rio life with an insider tour of its famous favelas.

Best for ages: 13+ | £25

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Hike up Tijuca Peak

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[8.5 miles]

Breathy and breathtaking rainforest hike to the highest peak in Rio de Janeiro’s urban mountain range, stopping at Tijuca National Park’s waterfalls on the way.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 4 hours

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Statue of Christ the Redeemer

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil[9.1 miles]

This iconic, art deco beauty, the symbol of South America, watches out over Rio from high on Corcovado Mountain. The panoramic views from the statue’s feet are dazzling.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil[6.9 miles]

Once the Emperor’s private retreat, these gardens brim with rare plants and are a haven for birds and butterflies

Best for ages: 4+ | Free

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Waves crashing on busy sandy beach
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Ipanema Beach

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil[7.4 miles]

Rio’s prettiest, chicest ocean beach, is watched over by the impressive Dois Irmaos mountain that sits behind. The water is cleaner, and the crowd more exclusive the further south you go, where Ipanema Beach merges into the more upscale Leblon Beach.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Football lessons on Ipanema Beach

Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil[8.1 miles]

Pelé da Praia has been teaching locals and tourists Brazilian football tricks on Ipanema beach for more than a decade. One-to-one tuition and group classes available. Contact him at peledapraia1@hotmail.com.

Best for ages: 8+ | £15 | 1-2 hours

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Watch a local football match

Rio de Janeiro , Southeastern Region, Brazil[11 miles]

Experience the passion of a match in the city that considers itself the world capital of football.

Best for ages: Any | £15 | 4 hours

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