Most botanical gardens are often thought of as an escape from the hectic life of a buzzing city. Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden however is very much a place worth visiting even if you are feeling “tudo bom” after a few days lazing on Ipanema Beach or sipping caipirinha by your hotel pool.
A 140-hectare park laying at the foot of Corcovado Mountain, almost directly below the right arm of the Christ the Redeemer Statue you'll find an impressive variety of unique flora including orchids, bromeliads, cacti, huge bamboos, and carnivorous plants. Fauna is harder to come by but the lucky will spot the odd Howler monkey and Tufted-eared Marmoset. As well as one of the 140 or more species of birds that call the gardens their home at different times of the year, cross your fingers and you might even see a toucan!
Wandering the shady gardens what you will undoubtedly discover is more than 6,000 different species of plants. Included in the long list of flora is the 750-metre line of 134 palm trees known as the Avenue of Royal Palms. Part garden and part forest, the gardens also encompass a section of the Atlantic Forest that sweeps all the way up the slopes of Corcovado. Other highlights in the garden that was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1992 include the cactus collection, insectivorous, orchids and bromeliads greenhouses and bamboo trees recess.
Though built over 300 years ago in the layout of a formal European style garden, a more recent addition to the gardens is the open-air Café Botânica. Despite the shade of the trees, the Rio heat can still make you parched but thankfully the cafe is well equipped to replenish you and sells an assortment of sandwiches, quiches, salads, other snacks, and most importantly bottles of H2O.