Horse Racing

Jóquei Clube. This beautiful old racetrack conjures up a bygone era of grandeur with its impeccably preserved betting hall, 1920s grandstand, and distant beach views framed by Cristo Redentor and the Dois Irmaos mountain. When the big event of the year, the Grande Premio, comes around in August, expect the crowds to swell and everyone to be dressed to the nines. Entry is free year-round, but you need to dress smart–casual, with no shorts or flip-flops allowed in the main stand. Praça Santos Dumont 31, Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, 22470–060. 021/2512–9988.


Estádio Maracanã. The vast stadium is nothing short of legendary, and watching a soccer game here is a must if the season (from mid-January to November) is in swing. As entertaining as some of the games are the obsessive supporters, devoted to their team colors but not afraid to trash their own players, the opposition, other fans, and of course the referee. The huge flags and fireworks are always spectacular. Tickets are available in advance and often on game day from the stadium ticket office. The branco or white section of the archibancado, or upper tier, is the safest option for the neutral fan. Expect to pay around R$35 for a ticket there, and arrive in good time to grab the best seats and soak up the atmosphere. Major refurbishments were made to prepare the 78,838-seat stadium for the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Rua Prof. Eurico Rabelo s/n, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, 20271–150. 021/8871–3950.

Boating and Sailing

Dive Point. Schooner tours around the main beaches of Rio and as far afield as Búzios and Angra are offered here, as well as deep-sea and wreck diving. Be sure to ask if prices include all the necessary equipment and training (if required). Av. Ataulfo da Paiva 1174, SS 04, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, 22440–035. 021/2239–5105.

Saveiro's Tour. Catch one of the daily cruises around Guanabara Bay—views of Sugar Loaf, Botafogo Bay, and the Rio-Niterói Bridge are the highlights. Saveiro's also hires out speedboats and sailboats by the day. Marina da Glória, Av. Infante Dom Henrique S/N, Lojas 13 e 14, Glória, Rio de Janeiro, 20021–140. 021/2225–6064.


Gávea Golf Club. Nonmembers can play this upmarket golfing club's impeccably groomed course on weekdays. The greens fee is steep, but you can get a discount if you're staying at the Copacabana Palace, InterContinental, or Sheraton hotel. Estrada da Gávea 800, São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro, 22610–000. 021/3322–4141. Course: 18 holes. 5990 yds. Par 69. Greens Fee: R$350/R$450. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, pull carts, caddies, rental clubs, pro-shop, restaurant, bar.

Golden Green Golf Club. It may only have six holes, but given the exclusivity and prices of the alternatives, this could be your best option for getting in a little play in Rio. Nonmembers are welcome every day. Avenida Prefeito Dulcídio Cardoso 2901, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, 22631–050. 021/2434–0696. Course: 6 holes. 2637 yds. Par 18. Greens Fee: R$80/R$100. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, rental clubs, restaurant.

Hang Gliding

Just Fly. This outfit will collect you from your hotel, take you through the basics, and then run you off Pedra Bonita mountain into the sky high above Tijuca Forest. The excellent instructors can also film or photograph the experience for an extra charge. Rua Barão da Torre 175, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, 22411-0-001. 21/2268–0565 or 021/9985–7540.

São Conrado Eco-Aventura. This reliable and experienced team can provide you with a bird's-eye view of Rio either by hang glider or paraglider. São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro. 021/2522–5586.

Hiking and Climbing

Given the changeable weather and the harsh terrain, guides are recommended for all major walks and climbs in Rio. Of particular note within the city itself are the hikes up Corcovado from Parque Lage and the trip through Tijuca Forest to Pico da Tijuca.

Brazil Active. These ecotourism specialists provide a wealth of options—including horse treks and yoga trails, along with climbing, mountain biking, and other standbys—for every age range. Rua Francisca Sales 645, Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro, 22760–000. or 021/2424–5455.

Centro Excursionista Brasileiro. You can research and register for all upcoming tours on Centro Excursionista's website. The outfit, which lead treks throughout Rio State and as far away as Minas Gerais, provides guides, maps, and all the gear you'll need. Av. Almirante Barroso 2, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, 20031–000. 021/2252–9844.

Rio Adventures. You need to book your adventures well in advance with this outfit that arranges caving, fishing, rafting, and hiking and mountain climbing trips. Praça Radial Sul 25, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, 22260–070. 021/2705–5747 or 021/9768–5221.


Kartodromo Premium. This is the biggest recreational karting track in Rio (1.6 km/1 mile). Group parties are accepted. If you're solo, you can enter in a cup against other members of the public. Av Ayrton Senna 3010, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, 22775–005. 021/2431–9373 or 021/9995–3535. R$45 weekdays, R$49 weekends and holidays. Daily 5 pm–midnight.


Surfing remains hugely popular in Rio, but kite surfing is growing rapidly, too, with several schools opening on Barra beachfront and out of town toward Cabo Frio.

Escola de Surf do Arpoador. The most consistent break in the city has its own surf school based on the beach; call up or stop by to book an early-morning appointment. Avenida Francisco Bhering s/n, In front of Posto 7, Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro, 22080–050. 021/9180–2287.

Kitepoint Rio. One of several companies based in huts along Avenida do Pepê near Posto 7, Kitepoint provides all the equipment and training you'll need to master the sport of kite surfing. Wind conditions have to be just right, though, so patience is a virtue when seeking lessons. Ave do Pepê, Kiosk 7, Next to Bombeiro, Barra, Rio de Janeiro, 22622–170. 021/8859–2112.


Parque do Flamengo. Municipal tennis courts rare in Rio, so the two near Flamengo Beach, both in good condition, are popular. The courts can't be booked, but a half-hour wait is likely to be rewarded. South of Parque Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, off Av. Infante D. Henrique, Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, 20021–140. 021/2265–4990.