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Apr 18th 2012 11:12PM Oh, and a couple other notes...
You CAN hike to the top of Sugar Loaf for free, though you'll need to know someone to guide you. There's a small climbing section that requires you get harnessed up, so you must also have the appropriate knowledge/gear. Not sure if you need to check in at the bottom to get a climbers pass, but as of a few years ago they let you on w/o one if you told them you climbed up. This is an amazing hike and looking down the backside of that huge rock face going straight into the ocean made for one of the best backdrops to a hike I've ever seen... though it was also quite scary at times thinking if you fell you may tumble a few hundred meters before your lifeless body would hit the water. LOVE IT!
There are also many other "unknown" (locals only) hiking places right out of most neighborhoods with forest behind them. Get to know the people and you just may be treated to some amazing views in the peace and quiet of the Matta Atlantica, while watching the hussle and bustle of millions of people in the city and on the beaches below. One "secret" hike I strongly recommend is climbing to the base of the Coppacabana Needle (or to the top if you're a climber and have gear). You almost feel like you could step out and walk across the roofs of the thousands of buildings before you.
Be nice, make friends, find hidden treasures wherever you go! Safe travels!