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Our Top 4 Private Nature Tours in Rio de Janeiro

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Pia V.

Last updated : May 16, 20247 min read

Nature

Though it's easy to forget amidst the hectic pace of the city, Rio de Janeiro is actually surrounded by incredibly vibrant nature and wildlife. Brazil's capital city is blessed with a very diverse landscape, ranging from lush rainforest to pristine beaches, and from majestic mountains to exotic mangroves. 

 

Are you looking to include some time spent in nature into your Rio de Janeiro itinerary? This article will introduce you to the best nature tours available in and around Rio de Janeiro. Our top tip? Making the most of your nature escape is easiest to do alongside a local Rio de Janeiro tour guide in the know.

 

1. Botanical Garden

A palm tree covered walkway in Rio De Janeiro

 

The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (or Jardim Botânico in Portuguese) is a great place to get acquainted with the local nature without having to venture far from the city. The botanical gardens are situated at the base of Corcovado Mountain. Located within easy reach of popular areas like Ipanema and Copacabana, the botanical gardens are spread over an impressive 54 hectares of land and feature around 6,500 different species of plants. Arguably the most famous residents here are the palm trees, present in a staggering 900 different varieties. The best place to admire them from is the park's entrance, which is lined by majestic rows of these imposing trees.

 

The botanical garden was originally founded by a Portuguese king all the way back in 1808 and has been open to the public since 1822. As a testament to its incredible diversity and significance, the gardens were declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1992. You can explore this beautiful park on foot, but due to its sheer size you might prefer hopping on a buggy instead. The botanical gardens are open daily throughout the year, the only exceptions being Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

 

2. Tijuca National Park

Tijuca National Park is a fluid extension of the botanical gardens. It is also home to Corcovado Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which stands atop this 700 meter tall peak. While most travelers only get to experience the park from way up high while visiting the iconic statue, getting up close and personal with its incredible landscape is a whole different experience. 

 

Tijuca is considered an urban national park, and it is characterized by the mountainous landscape which surrounds Rio de Janeiro. The most popular way to explore Tijuca National Park is by touring the location in an open-top jeep. This will allow you to see a large area of the park while also absorbing the sights and sounds of the jungle to the fullest. Most tours will also include short hikes inside the park area. On your tour of Tijuca National Park, you can expect to see beautiful vegetation, stunning waterfalls (the Cascatinha waterfall being a definite highlight), and unique wildlife.

 

3. Prainha Park

Prainha Park offers a beautiful, nature bound setting just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro. Located less than an hour's drive from the city center, Prainha is a large public park boasting several hiking trails and a stunning coastline that really lends itself to landscape photography and let's face it, some epic selfies! The park features a rocky coastline with beautiful sandy beaches tucked in between. Unlike busy areas like Ipanema and Copacabana, these beaches tend to be very quiet. The area also boasts very diverse flora and fauna. You can encounter orchids and banana trees while hiking in the area, and if you're lucky enough, catch glimpses of parakeets, hummingbirds, and other exotic animals in their natural habitat.

 

There are several hiking trails in Prainha which offer a varying level of challenge. Mirante do Caeté is perhaps the most popular trail, as it features a lookout point with beautiful views looking over the coastline. This is a relatively easy trail that's about 800 meters long, with beautiful scenery throughout. To ensure your safety and comfort throughout the excursion, we would recommend heading out to Prainha Park with one of our trusted Brazil tour guides

 

4. Pedra do Telegrafo

If you are looking for a brisk hike and most importantly, some epic photo ops close to Rio de Janeiro, Pedra do Telegrafo is the way to go! Pedra do Telegrafo, or Telegraph Rock, is a rock formation perched about 350 meters above sea level, supplying sublime views overlooking Rio de Janeiro and its picture-perfect coastline. While the views are stunning in their own right, what really makes this location stand out are the cliffhanger style photo ops provided by the strategically placed rock. With the right pose and angles, it will appear as if you are hanging way up high over the city when in reality, you are safely perched just a few inches off the ground.

 

Pedra do Telegrafo is located about an hour's drive from Rio de Janeiro's center, close to the hiking trails of Prainha. The rock sits atop Morro de Guaratiba mountain. Reaching the top means enjoying a short uphill hike, which should take you around 45 minutes or so. The trail is not challenging but due to the tropical climate it's important to stay hydrated so make sure to keep your water bottle handy! The scenery along the trail is beautiful and once you reach the top, the vistas will leave you speechless. Head up to Pedra do Telegrafo with plenty of patience, though, as there are usually a lot of people queuing up to get that famous cliffhanging photo. The wait time could be an hour or even longer. The best way to avoid the longest lines is to arrive here very early in the morning. 

 

Conclusion

Rio de Janeiro is an incredibly diverse city which will surprise and delight you at every turn. Exploring the splendor and beauty of the local nature will take your trip to a whole new level. We know that getting out and about in this huge city can feel like a challenge. The easiest and safest way to enjoy Rio de Janeiro's beauty is by booking a Rio de Janeiro private tour. Explore our tour options to get inspired, or get in touch with our local Rio de Janeiro private guides to plan your perfect itinerary.

Rio de Janeiro Tour Guide - Matheus T.

Matheus T.

Brazil

Hi, iam Matheus, but you can call me Mat! Your local guide and tourism agent since 2014, with a passion for showcasing the best of this vibrant city. Having worked with over 40 nationalities, including being the host for the Australian Olympic Committee during the 2016 Olympics, I bring a wealth of experience to every tour. Private tours, smooth transfers, and I speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese – your Rio adventure just leveled up! Let's make your time in Rio remarkable!                                                                                                                                  

Rio de Janeiro Tour Guide - Marcelo C.

Marcelo C.

Brazil

Hi! My name is Marcelo I´am a Tour Guide in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. Working for more than 35 years with tourism and hospitality industry, as a travel agent, tour operator and many years as a Hotel Concierge, I am prepared to offer you a personalized itinerary and provide the best experience in Rio. So, See You in Rio?                                                                                                                                  

Sao Paulo Tour Guide - Mohamed amine E.

Mohamed amine E.

Brazil

Hi! I'm Mohamed-Amine Please call me Amine. I was born in Morocco but have worked and living in Brazil for nearly 20 years. I'm very familiar with the many sightseeing spots and attractions of the Country thanks to my long-term life experience in this city. Brazil is a fascinating and picturesque country visited by more then 10 millions tourists every year. I have guided many foreign tourists as an English & French-speaking tour guide for the past lasts years. So after serval years I decide to open my own travel Agency to make people discovering this wonderful country through tailor made guided tours. I like to make people happy. Moreover, I am interested in Brazilian history, culture, and geography, and I also like intercultural exchanges! I can show you the best of Brazil not only popular historical sites and relics but also hidden spots which only locals know. I always enjoy guiding every tourist with my best hospitality. When you have a chance to visit Brazil, please contact me anytime and join one of my tours!                                                                                                                                 

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