Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Master a martial art

Capoeira is a martial art thought to have been brought to Brazil by African slaves. Blending athleticism and grace, participants should get close but not quite touch each other. Learn how at Capoeira Senzala (tel: +55 21 9431 5914; www.capoeirasenzala.net).

Soar high above the city

Hang gliding or paragliding off Rio’s sheer peaks is a spectacular thrill and allows participants to see the city from a dramatically different angle. Flights take off from Pedra Bonita peak, overlooking São Conrado, and soar for 15 breathtaking minutes before landing on the sandy Praia Pepino. Take a tandem flight with Just Fly (tel: +55 21 2268 0565; www.justfly.com.br).

Ride Rio's Rollers on a surfboard

Take an early morning stroll down Ipanema Beach and there will already be dozens of surfers in action; surfing is as big in Rio as the waves that pound the Zona Sul coastline. Prainha and Recreio are top spots, while Arpoador is closer to the city. Invicta (tel: +55 21 3439 0721) offer board hire.

Scale God's Finger

Rio is an ideal destination for climbers, and Sugarloaf and Corcovado’s granite peaks are a challenge for even the most experienced climber. A couple of hours’ drive from Rio, the Dedo de Deus or ‘God’s Finger’ is a fantastic alternative. Climb In Rio (tel: +55 21 2245 1108; www.climbinrio.com) offer guided climbs.

Become a beach volleyball star

It is not unusual to see professional athletes playing vôlei (beach volleyball) on several beaches in Rio. After football, it’s Brazil’s favourite sport, and the canny Cariocas have managed to combine the two, with futevolei. Great to watch, better to play: turn up for a lesson at Posto 10, Ipanema.