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The Botanical Gardens: an alternative day out in Rio de Janeiro

Updated on October 2, 2013

Jardim Botânico in numbers

Founded on 13 de junho de 1808.

Contains 6,500 species of plants in an area of 54 hectares.

Home of the most complete botanical library with 66,000 volumes and 3,000 rare works.

Contains 330,000 dehydrated plants and one orchid nursery with 700 different types of orchids.

The monkey held onto the coconut for dear life, as if the other would steal it from him if he didn’t properly care for it. But there was a problem; he couldn’t open it as much as he punched the hard surface with his tiny hands or bit with his minuscule sharp teeth. The rest of his pack jumped around from one tree to another, undisturbed by the humans watching them in awe.

Rio de Janeiro’s Botanical Gardens are one of the best places in the whole city. Though Rio is known for its beaches the Botanical Gardens offer beautiful nature and history that the beaches simply don’t have. While the beaches are an obvious tourist spots, loud and crowded, the Botanical Gardens are quiet, serene and fresh. It’s a place where visitors can enjoy the silence and relax without being bothered by noisy vendors.

Under the leafy roof of Amazonian trees the sun isn’t as scorching in summer and the remains of rain can be smelled in the moist plants in winter. Visitors can walk through the 540 000 m2 park all day if they like, enjoying 6,500 different species of flora – some of them in danger of extinction.

Established in 1808 the Gardens were the product of the Portuguese Royal family runaway mission during Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal. Newly established in their colony Prince Regent don João de Bragança declared the area that now stands as the Gardens reserved for a park. The result remains until today and receives thousands of visitors every year.

The turtles in the entrance of the park welcome the tourists by popping their head out of the water, as children point in amazement. The tickets are R$6 for exploring the whole place.

No matter how many times you visit there will always be mysterious places to see. One of the easiest gems to find is the Central Fountain that, build in England, honours music, poetry, science and art. Another, a bit more obscure, is the Amazonian Path where plants from the Amazon are preserved.

The must-see spot is the palm trees the Prince Regent planted in the beginning of their stay in Brazil. They started out as tiny trees but by the time the royal family was leaving in 1820 they were towering over the park. They might be the most elegant and resilient keepsake of the royal visit.

The monkeys keep to themselves in their habitat but they are incredibly fun to watch. They are different from the ones you see all over the city, swinging from telephone and energy cables. They’re bigger and more graceful, with a lot more personality. But if there is a need to see the typical tiny monkeys they can be seen in the picnic area where they wait for visitors to feed them.

The Botanical Gardens is a perfect place to escape the rush and noise of Rio de Janeiro’s usual spots. And it can be visited several times as new beauties and flowers can be just around the corner.

Where exactly is it?

Things to pack

Sun block
Bug repelent
Water bottle
Sun hat

A few photos to get you excited


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