Rio de Janeiro
Discover Jardim Botanico: A Unique Blend of Nature and Carnival
From Botanic Gardens to Lively Nightlife: Your Guide to Jardim Botanico
The Jardim Botanico or Botanic Garden residential locality, gets its name from and borders the world famous park of the same name. Located in the south zone, north of Ipanema and close to Tijuca National Park, this is one of the few neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro where one can see individual houses, as opposed to the large high rise complexes that abound in this densely populated city.
The Botanic Garden
Founded in 1808 and sprawling across an area of around 350 acres, the Botanic Garden is home to over 6,500 species of plants and trees. Not only will you see species native to Brazil and the Amazon forest, but also varieties from around the world and some endangered species. From orchids, rubber and cocoa trees, royal palms and sections such as the Japanese and sensorial gardens, there is a lot to explore and learn about. Lakes, ponds and fountains abound, as do sculptures, statues and monuments, many crafted in foreign countries, adding to the magnificence of this unique place.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
Close to the neighborhood is the beautiful Freitas lagoon, which is encircled by a 7.5 km pathway, which joggers and cyclists frequent. There is also a huge sports complex here, containing skateboard and roller skate areas, tennis courts and football fields. Concerts and open air performances often take place at the many parks that surround the lagoon. Several private clubs also exist on the shore, which host annual balls at Carnival time. Food kiosks that dot the water body’s boundary are excellent places for casual meals – including local, Arab, Mediterranean and Italian food – and often have live bands performing.
Nightlife and eating out
This area does not have much to offer by way of night clubs or discotheques, when compared to the rest of Rio de Janeiro but there are several highly recommended restaurants to try out. As interesting as the food, which is made up of small portions that you can mix and match, is the colorful and hippie like décor of Da Graca. Couve Flor is one of the places, where the now popular Brazilian kilo system of ordering was first started in the early 80’s. Here you pay for a kilo of food and can try portions of a variety of dishes – a great way to sample everything, including over 15 types of dessert offered at the weekend buffet! If you have a passion for pizza, the upscale Capricciosa, where the smell of wood oven cooked pizzas, wafts through the air, is the place to go. The restaurant also has a cozy wine bar.
Activities at Carnival time
Every year at carnival time, Jardim Botanico witnesses the parade of one of the city’s most famous blocos, the Suvaco de Cristo or the “Armpit of Christ”, so called because the locality lies directly beneath the right armpit of the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The group, whose trademark colors are blue, green and silver, has their own samba enredo every year.