The Guide to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro Attractions
In northwest Rio de Janeiro's well-heeled Jardim Botanico district, near the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, sits a botanical oasis first conceived in 1808 by Prince Regent Dom João. Quiet on weekdays and alive with music and families on weekends, the Jardim Botanico grows over 5000 plant varieties, including Amazonian originals and Jurassic-sized water lilies.
On top of Corcovado Mountain, immortalized in song by João Gilberto, a penitent Christ the Redeemer opens statuesque arms to all of Rio de Janeiro. The left arm points to the Rio de Janeiro's north zone (zona norte), the right to the south zone (zona sur), while the saintly perch offers spectacular views of Ipanema, the Maracana soccer stadium and the Serra do Órgãos mountain range.
During jam-packed World Cup matches or championship games between Rio de Janeiro's four rivaling soccer clubs (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco), the 200,000-capacity Maracaná stadium, one of the world's largest, literally sways with the fervor. At the Maracaná's museum you can behold some godly garb: Pele's infamous number 10 jersey.
A green, unearthly peak rising over Rio de Janeiro, Sugar Loaf is an iconic locale for a bird's eye view of Rio de Janeiro, from Copacabana beach to Corcovado Mountain, as well as an equatorial Rio de Janeiro sunset.
All that remains of an Atlantic rain forest that once thrived around Rio de Janeiro is the Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world. Only fifteen minutes from Copacabana, the 120 sqaure kilometer Tijuca, part of Rio's National Park, is a stunning place for a day hike amid bright green foliage, unearthly terrain and white waterfalls, as well as birds, iguanas and monkeys.