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Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro

O Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro It is one of the main tourist attractions to do in Rio, as we have already highlighted in the article What to do in Rio: Top 10 Tourist Points.

The place is huge and requires some planning.

Not that you can’t just drop by and start wandering around its delicious lanes, but for those who want to make a guided tour and get to know what the Garden has best to offer, it is worth keeping an eye on the tips that we will give you below.

Although we have already visited the Botanical Gardens before, this text is part of the itinerary of our last trip to Rio de Janeiro, in January 2016. To learn more, see our 4-day itinerary in Rio.

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro

Botanical Garden: History, Prices, Hours and Operation

After a first day in Rio with rain, the next day the sun decided to come out and we left for a viewpoint, Vista Chinesa. But on the way, we noticed that the slopes were full of clouds, so we decided to change our plans and go to the Botanical Garden, which is close by.

By the way, check the map below for the must-see sights that can be visited in the same itinerary in the region:

– Parque Lage;
– Botanical Garden;
– District of Gávea;
– Instituto Moreira Salles;
– Tijuca National Park: Chinese View.

How to get

There is a large series of bus lines which pass at Rua Jardim Botânico nº 1008, where the park is located. These are: -573-574-583-584-2014-775D-750D. Obviously you won’t be able to memorize all these numbers, so better ask at the bus stop.

If you go by car, look for park on Rua Pacheco Leão or Praça Santos Dumont, in Gávea. Always carry the Rio Rotativo card or you can buy it if you find an accredited seller. They usually show up. It costs R$ 2.00 for a 2-hour period for high turnover places.

One good alternative seems to be by subway. Go to Botafogo Station and from there take a metro integration bus to Rua Jardim Botânico 728. From there, the easiest entrance is via Rua Pacheco Leão 101.

Breakfast at La Bicyclette

We parked the car on Rua Pacheco Leão and on the way to Jardim Botânico, we found the La Bicyclette, which is located in Pacheco Leão, in front of Rede Globo (there is also a branch inside the Botanical Garden). There we sat for a coffee and a croissant, which is one of the strong cars of the place.

The philosophy of the place is make bread like the old days, for example, roasted directly on the stone. Croissants, pains au chocolat and brioches are produced with selected raw materials. You products have no fat, say on the website. Oops!!!

If you’re hungry, order the full breakfast. Prices range from R$25.00 to R$64.00. We had already had breakfast at the apartment, so I just had the croissant, stuffed with banana and nutella (R$12.50). Delicious and fresh.

Great way to start a tour, huh?

Botanical Garden: History

As we were at Pacheco Leão, we entered right there, on the side access.

With activities started in 1808, the Botanical Garden’s first challenge was to acclimate species brought in from abroad. At other times, studies for plant cultivation aimed at economic benefits, such as the planting of tea, straw and mulberry trees.

In parallel with the studies, the Garden was also open to visitors and adaptations were made to improve the leisure experience of the public, such as the creation of waterfalls and lakes. In this aspect, one of the biggest highlights was Frei Leandro, creator of Lake Vitória-Régia.

When entering the Botanical Garden, pay attention to the signs that tell you which species are found. Botanical gardens are places for just that: study and appreciate the species.

There are water lilies, rubber trees, peach palms and pau-mulatos, species that we find at the beginning of the tour. The pau-mulado is a typical tree from the Amazon that stands out for its smooth and shiny trunk, and quite extensive, with more than 30 meters. Don’t forget to smooth the mulatto stick, no double meaning huh?

But the highlight in the Botanical Garden is the species from the Amazon Rainforest. The naturalist Adolpho Ducke (1867-1959) brought several species from his expeditions to the Amazon.

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro
The pau-mulatto, a typical tree from the Amazon, has a smooth and glossy trunk, a beauty

1 – Fountain of the Muses (Central Fountain)

While we were walking to the Chafariz das Musas and we were doing a snapchat (viagenscine), behold, behind us appears the Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado. Yes, it is possible to see it from several points of Rio, and also from the Botanical Garden.

And then we find the Central Fountain, one of the most emblematic points of the Botanical Garden. It is centrally located and with wonderful shadows, in addition to the fountain itself, which represents four muses of greek mythology: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Erato (lyrical poetry) and Talia (muse of comedy).

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro
The Central Fountain, with Christ the Redeemer in the background

2 – Palm Tree Alley

But the biggest symbol of the Botanical Garden is this corridor of imperial palm trees, which was named Aleia Barbosa Rodrigues. João Barbosa Rodrigues was director of the Botanical Garden between 1890 and 1909. There are 134 imperial palm trees with an average height of 30 meters, which is equivalent to an 8-story building. The grandeur of the trees ended up becoming a symbol of the place.

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro
Take the opportunity to take your best photos here, in Aleia das Palmeiras

Another curious alley is the Alley Serpa Brandãoadministrator of the Botanical Garden from 1829. It is said that Serpa Brandão wanted a monopoly on palm trees and had the seeds burned every year, but even so, the slaves took hidden seeds and, thanks to them, the palm trees spread throughout Brazil.

In any case, from the origin it is already foreseen that the centenary palm trees from here, if they are not a monopoly of the Botanical Garden as Serpa Brandão wanted, at least they have become the most famous palm trees in Brazil.

3 – Lake Frei Leandro (or Lake of Vitória Régia)

Frei Leandro was the first director of the Botanical Garden and ordered the slaves to excavate the land in the place to make way for the lake that earned his name. The land taken to the lake turned into a high, a kind of hill, called Comoro Frei Leandrowhere there is a statue of the Frei and also a perfect vantage point for the surroundings.

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro
Cômoro Frei Leandro, named after the Botanical’s first director, is located on an elevated

But the lake really impresses with the beautiful water lilies, which can support up to 45 pounds. In some of them flowers grow, just as we had seen in Monet’s Gardens. One beauty only. Remembering that as we said before, the water lily is also a species native to the Amazon.

Botanical Garden: Unmissable Places to Visit in Rio de Janeiro
Lake Frei Leandro, also known as Lake of Vitória-Régia, is beautiful

4 – Karl Glasl Grotto

The grotto is another one of those incredible places in the Botanical Garden. Built by Karl Glasl to open species that are used to darker and more humid environmentsI love going into the cave and looking for angles for the Botanist.

Also note that as in Lake Vitória-Régia, here too it is possible to find water lilies.

5 – Botanical Garden Waterfall

Everything looks very natural in the Botanical Garden, but the waterfalls were also the work of Frei Leandro, which sought not only to represent aquatic flora, but also to create havens of tranquility. Anyone who approaches the waterfall and hears the noise of its falls cannot be invaded by a sense of peace.

There are still numerous other highlights in the Botanical Garden that are worth visiting, such as the Japanese Garden, the Mexican Garden, the Sensory Garden, the cactus, Casa dos Pilões, the insectivorous plant greenhouse and the list goes on.

Restaurants in the Botanical Garden

When it was time to get back to the car, we decided to have lunch at Rua Pacheco Leão, which is full of delicious places. I took a look at TripAdvisor and some of the best restaurants in Rio were there.

In addition to La Bicyclette, which we have already mentioned, there is Couve Flor (where we ate, food per kilo at R$81.00, a little salty), Yume, Bar do Horto (our first option, but we were in a hurry, we preferred the kilo), Jojô Bistrô and Borogodó. Quiet location (unfortunately it’s not easy to park, like anywhere else in Rio), pleasant surroundings, it’s worth checking out.


Tour: Botanical Garden
Directed by: Rio de Janeiro
Production: R$ 9.00. Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, except on Mondays which only open at 12 pm and in summer, which is open until 6 pm
Photography: Fabio Pastorello and Cleber Alcantara
The best: It’s no wonder that Alea das Palmeiras is the symbol of the Botanical Garden: use and abuse this place
The worst: Avoid the weekends, when the place is very crowded and obviously you miss that chance to really relax in a place conducive to being in peace.
Year: 2016
Country Brazil
Evaluation: ★★★★★

Read next: Vista Chinesa – Viewpoint in Parque da Tijuca

Check out the full script: Rio: Route of Trails and Viewpoints in 4 Days

Source: Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

© 2015 Fabio Pastorello. All rights reserved. The reproduction of texts and/or images is not permitted without the author’s prior authorization.

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