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Rio de Janeiro Parks & Wildlife

Rio de Janeiro has some great parks, with an array of exotic plants and wildlife worth a visit.

Most visitors will agree that experiencing the stunning natural beauty of Tijuca Forest National Park is like climbing the stairway to heaven. A man-made forest, it is home to some endangered species and presents fantastic, breathtaking views of waterfalls, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, beaches, Corcovado & Sugarloaf Mountains.

If you’re enthusiastic enough, book a hiking tour to the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain or Pedra Da Gavea granite mountain. Many of these tours also cover the charming 19th-century district of Santa Teresa.

Botanical Gardens
(Jardim Botanico)

The Botanical Gardens also known as Jardim Botanica is the place where man and nature reside in perfect harmony. A learning ground for children, adults can stroll around the gardens to view some amazing and rare species of plants from Brazil and other countries.

The garden showcases a fine collection of excruciatingly large Victorian water lilies and Japanese plants. Sitting on the edge of Tijuca Forest, Dom João VI designed the garden himself in 1808 to include plants of artistic, archaeological and historical importance.

Along with 8200 species of plants planted here, various wild animals, birds and other beings coexist extremely well. One can get the opportunity to get close to these animals and learn more about their daily life.

There is also a cafe within the precinct where one can admire the garden views, complemented by live music on the weekend. Visit the parks on the weekdays to avoid weekend crowds.

Tijuca Rain Forest Jeep Tour
Flickr/Daytours4u/CC BY 2.0

Tijuca Rain Forest Jeep Tour

Experience the world's largest urban forest through an open-top Jeep ride. Followed by a relaxed hike, offering close-up views of wild animals and plants. It's a family-friendly tour overflowing with photo opportunities!

Tijuca Rainforest Hiking Tour

Tijuca Rainforest Hiking Tour

After pickup from your Rio-area hotel by a minivan, head to the Tijuca Rainforest with an experienced tour guide to begin your hiking tour. Before you start, your guide will give you a brief overview of hiking tips and safety and then lead you to a beautiful waterfall that stands near the entrance of the park.

Flamengo Park
VinyNeto/CC BY-SA 3.0

Flamengo Park

Flamengo Park (Aterro do Flamengo/ Eduardo Gomes Park/ Aterro do Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes) is recreation area and the largest public park in Flamengo district of Rio de Janeiro. It overlooks Guanabara Bay. The park is popular for outdoor activities such as cycling, biking etc. Museum of Modern Art, Carmen Miranda Museum, and the Monument to the Dead of World War II are located in this park.


Tijuca Forest

Covering some 32km², Tijuca Forest (Tijuca National Park/ Parque Nacional da Tijuca) is the urban national park in Rio de Janeiro. It is home to hundreds of Amazonian species of plant and animal life.

This forest is one of its kind because it was replanted by a man in the early 1900s after years of deforestation for coffee plantations. Major Gomes Archer took the initiative to reforest the area with seedlings native to the Atlantic ecosystem.

The park includes many insects, ocelots, birds, howler monkeys and other endangered species known only to the Amazon basin. The park's summit, where the symbolic Christ the Redeemer statue is situated, offers fantastic views over the city and ocean. Every year, millions of tourists visit this fantastic forest to discover the wildlife.

Parque Lage
Filipo tardim/CC BY-SA 4.0

Parque Lage

This mystical park is at the base of the Corcovado mountain. This land was previously owned by the entrepreneur Henrique Lage. In the 1960s, the land was refurbished into Escola de Artes Visuais, i.e. School of Visual Arts and a public park. The park includes walking trails and a café.

Rio de Janeiro Zoological Garden
Halley Pacheco de Oliveira/CC BY-SA 3.0

Rio de Janeiro Zoological Garden

The Rio de Janeiro Zoological Garden (Jardim Zoológico do Rio de Janeiro) is a zoo located in São Cristóvão district. The zoo is in a park of 55,000 sq. metre area at the back of Quinta da Boa Vista. The zoo has a large collection of reptiles, birds, fish and animals such as Brazilian Cerrado, Pantanal, Lear's macaw, harpy eagle, broad-snouted caiman, maned wolf etc.

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