Wonderful Things to do in Jardim Botânico Neighbourhood, Rio de Janeiro

View of Christ the Redeemer in the Jardim Botânico Rio de Janeiro.

Jardim Botanico neighborhood steals its name from Brazil’s Emperor’s majestic gardens in the same region. The charming residential area in Zona Sul Rio (South Zone) backs onto the Atlantic rain forest, sheltered under the armpit of Christ the Redeemer Statue. The hug of nature and the walkable streets highlight Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden) as a must-visit area of Rio de Janeiro.

And several prestigious companies think alike, setting up shop in Jardim Botânico:

What to do in Jardim Botänico?

Monkey in Rio chewing on leaves in Jardim Botanico.

1. Wander Around the 200-Year-Old Jardim Botânico

This magnificent garden is over 200 years old. Not only is it a wonderful way to explore the native Atlantic forest, but it is also a committed collection of worldwide plants.

The gardens have specimens from Japan, a greenhouse of carnivorous plants, the Australian tree, the Melaleuca, California Redwoods, Amazonian water lilies, and many more.

This historical garden is also the epicenter for preserving native Brazilian species. Today, 3,000 plant species in Brazil are considered endangered or threatened with extinction. This research into the flora and fauna of Brazil takes place at the Centro Nacional de Conservação da Flora (National Center of Plant Conservation) located on the Jardim Botânico premises.

Mata atlantica in Rio de Janeiro in Parque Lage.

2. Spot Monkeys in Parque Lage

Parque Lage is a free, well-kept park located in the Jardim Botanico neighborhood.

During colonial Brazil, this park was a sugar mill. After 1660, the park was bought by the Rodrigo de Freitas Mello family. Later, in the 1800s, the land passed to the British nobility. At this point, it was landscaped in a European style but held its unique vibe, brimming with Brazil’s gorgeous, tropical flora.

It assumed its name when Antonio Martins Lage bought it in 1859. Later, Henrique Lage and his Italian opera singer wife, Gabriela Besanzono, moved in. This is when the “Roman palazzo” was built, which nowadays houses the visual arts school.

The Visual Arts School holds exhibitions and offers courses for all your arty needs.

Read about the Top 5 Places to See Monkeys in Rio.

Spider monkeys on the grounds of the Jardim Botânico Rio (Botanical Gardens).

3. Sample Fresh Brazilian Food in the Canopy of Jardim Botânico

At the entrance of Rio’s botanical gardens, the Garden Cafe restaurant sits in the fresh forest. You don’t need to pay to enter the garden to dine here. Often, there is live acoustic music, and the roof of the outside terrace is made of living vines. Perfect for a day date.

4. Try a Brazilian Steak at Filé de Ouro

Filé de Ouro doesn’t accept reservations, but they have a sheltered outside area where you can start with nibbles and drinks. At weekends there is always a queue.

As the name suggests, Filé de Ouro, or Golden Steak in English, does divine Brazilian steak. The menu is divided by beef cut and how many people share in each dish.

5. Hike to Christ the Redeemer Statue

Parque Lage is at the foot of the Corcovado Mountain, the home of the Christ the Redeemer Statue.

From the back of the park, you can hike to the statue. This is a long four-hour hike. Make sure you go in a group with plenty of water.

6. Go to the Rio Jockey Club in Jardim Botanico  

The Jockey Club Rio is home to 10 bars and restaurants, along with weekly horse racing events. The grounds of the jockey club are large and often rented out for special shows, events, and festivals.

From the grounds, you can see the New Year’s Eve fireworks display on Copacabana Beach. A less crowded option if you are in the marvelous city to ring in the New Year.

Learn our tips on how to spend a Lazy Sunday at the Jockey Club Rio.

Shelter in the Jardim Botânico Rio.

7. Hike to a Waterfall from Jardim Botânico

There are a number of waterfalls reachable from the back of Jardim Botânico through the Tijuca forest.

Cachoeira do Horta, cachoeira meaning waterfall, can be reached by road. Take the Estrada da Vista Chinesa, then walk 15 minutes to the falls.

Another couple of waterfalls are accessible by hike from Rua Sara Vilela. These are called Cachoeira da Cortina and Cachoeira dos Primatas. Expect a half-kilometer, light hike. Note these are not accessible, paved routes.

We’ve included two Google map screenshots to show the start of the hikes.


8. Walk by the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas

The Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas was known to the Brazilian indigenous population as Sacopenapã, or “lagoon with flat roots” in Tupi-Guarani. The lagoon borders the Jardim Botânico neighborhood.

Around the saltwater lagoon is a 7.5 km track; it is great for walking, jogging, or cycling.

You can rent water pedalos and four-person land pedalos to enjoy this lagoon.

At Christmas, a towering, lit-up Christmas tree is launched on the lake. The floating tree puts on nightly light shows of about 20 minutes. It’s a tropical festive treat.

9. Go to Casa Caminhoá Cultural Center in Jardim Botânico Neighbourhood

Casa Caminhoá holds a mixture of artistic events and ventures.

Count on poetry recitals, local art exhibitions, seasonal handcraft fairs, pop-up stalls, and more.

Support small local businesses by visiting this culture center in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood in Rio.

Keep up to date on events on Casa Caminhoá’s Instagram.

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