With its swaths of white sand beaches hemmed in by the iconic peaks of Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountain, and an all-day party atmosphere, it can be hard to tear yourself away from Rio de Janeiro’s idyllic surroundings. But whether you like cruising the ocean or hiking through the rainforest, there are plenty of great options for day trips from Rio, so make sure you take a break from the city and explore the nearby sights.
The legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches aren’t the only places to get a suntan and the traditional fishing villages and pristine resorts of the Buzios peninsula are the perfect antidote to the busy urban beaches. Alternatively, head south of Rio to the picturesque Costa Verde (Green Coast) where you can tour the tropical islands of Sepetiba Bay or take a schooner cruise around the islands of Angra dos Reis (the ‘Bay of Kings’). Here, the calm, clear waters are teeming with colorful fish and sting rays, and the shores lined with towering dunes, mangrove forests and secluded coves. Hiking, bird spotting, scuba diving and snorkeling are all popular activities, or else you can just relax on deck and take in the scenery.
Nature lovers will also love hiking in the Tijuca Rainforest National Park, home to Rio’s highest peak, the 3,353-foot Pico da Tijuca, and a distinctive array of native wildlife. Or take a trip into the mountains and discover Petropolis, the one-time Imperial City of Brazil, where the famous Imperial Museum houses one of Brazil’s most significant collections of historic objects.