Hike up Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro
You could take a cable car to reach the summit of this 1,299-foot-tall granite and quartz mountain, which rises straight upward from Guanabara Bay. But if you really want to earn those amazing views of the city, its beaches and the waters beyond, consider the strenuous, steep, two-hour hike that will have you working up a sweat.
Marvel at the Meeting of the Waters
About five miles south of Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon Basin, you’ll find a bizarre natural phenomenon called the Meeting of the Waters. Here, the muddy-brown Rio Solimões and the coffee-colored Rio Negro flow next to each other without mixing. Keep your eyes peeled for the endangered pink river dolphins.
Explore São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park
São Paulo’s answer to Central Park features 390 acres of calm and reflective green space—an absolute godsend in a city this chaotically bustling. There are paths for cycling and running, lawns perfect for picnics and buildings by Brazil’s most famous modernist architect, Oscar Niemeyer.
Spot wildlife in Brasília National Park
You don’t have to venture deep into the Amazon to see some of Brazil’s famous wildlife. Beginning in the northwest corner of the capital city, this 164-square-mile park is home to maned wolves, giant otters, capybaras, jaguars and ostrich-like rheas.
Hang glide over Rio de Janeiro
If you’ve ever wanted to channel a seagull and glide carefree above the beach below, strap into a tandem hang glider atop Pedra Bonita and catch the wind for a surprisingly serene descent down to São Coronado beach.