Country 19: Brazil | This post is part of my 30×30 series. Read more here!
Rio de Janeiro is perhaps the most awesome city I have ever visited, with heavy emphasis on the awe. It is the very definition of urban jungle, with plenty of concrete and plenty more greenery. But tucked between the beaches and the bluffs is an incredible treasure—one that should definitely be on your Rio de Janeiro trip itinerary: the Jardim Botânico.
In college, I had the lucky fortune to be paired with a Brazilian roommate, who has stayed one of my dearest friends despite multiple cross-country and international moves (on both our sides!). I went to Brazil with her, which—let’s just say, if you can go to Brazil, you should go, but if you can go to Brazil with a Brazilian, good God, what are you waiting for??
Visiting the Jardim Botânico in Rio de Janeiro
Touring Rio’s Botanical Garden was a suggestion from her cousin, who assured us it was worth spending the day at. It was good we blocked all that time, because once we entered, we could have easily spent three days roaming the wooded paths, enjoying the lush tranquility.
In fact, you could literally spend three days there—the garden is spread over 350 acres, and to see the bulk of it in one day requires a tour in an electric cart, which seat up to 8 people and leave from the main entrance on the hour throughout the day. We chose to wander instead, admiring the vibrantly-hued trees and spectacular flowers (there are over 8,000 species represented!). The Jardim Botânico is located near the foot of Christ the Redeemer, and as you stroll through the park you’ll catch impressive views of the iconic statue.
Apparently monkeys are to Brazil what squirrels are to the U.S., and the Jardim is full of them! Visitors are warned not to get too close, but no one is warning the monkeys—don’t be surprised if they sneak up tight to you, looking for food or mugging for the camera.
One of our favorite spots was the Orchidarium, a circular pavilion that houses over 2000 species of orchids. The blooms were absolutely stunning—some of them were bigger than my head!
Children under 7 years old and senior citizens are allowed into the Jardim for free. For everyone else, there is an entrance fee of R$5,00 per person. The Garden is open all days of the week from 8 am to 5 pm. There is a café on premises in case you want to grab lunch before you head out to further explore.