Surrounding Districts, Rio de Janeiro
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Lagoa Rodrigode FreitasThe Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (area 4.5sq.km/13/4sq.mi) lies behind the high-rise blocks of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Many streets in these districts lead into Avenidas Borges de Medeiros and Epitácio Pessoa, which run round the lagoon, and to the parks and clubs round its shores. The lagoon offers ideal conditions for regattas and other water sports.
Botanic Garden (Museum)
On the west side of the lagoon, near the Flamengo Sailing Club and the Jockey Club (Jóquei Clube), is the Brigadeiro Faria Lima Park (reached from Avenida Borges de Medeiros), with an amusement park. To the left of the Jockey Club is the Botanic Garden (Jardim Botânico; area 1.37sq.km/.5sq.mi), with 5000 species of plants from all over the world. In the gardens are ponds with rare species of fish and Victoria amazonica water-lilies and other plants from the Amazon region. In half of the park's area the original vegetation has been preserved. The Botanic Garden was founded by Dom João VI for the acclimatization of tropical plants (e.g. the avocado tree, the clove bush, the royal palm and other exotic plants) from the Portuguese Empire. There are also a specialist library and two museums, the Botanical Museum and the Museu de Plantas Secas (Herbarium), which is used for research purposes. The entrance to the gardens is in Rua Jardim Botánico.
PrainhaA hill separates the Praia do Pontal de Sernambetiba from the little Praia da Prainha, only 150m/165yds long, with high waves which attract surfers and white sand and clean water which also appeal to non-surfers. Avenida Estado da Guanabara, Estrada do Pontal and Avenida Sernambetiba link the Recreio dos Bandeirantes with the Prainha beach.
GrunariThe Praia de Grumari, a beach of reddish sand surrounded by hills, came into favor only in the 1980s. It is the last beach before the Morro de Guaratiba (with the Praia do Perigoso), which bounds the Restinga de Marambaia. It is reached by way of Estrada de Grumari and Avenida Estado da Guanabara.
The elegant Praia de São Conrado extends for 1km/.7mi from the end of Avenida Niemeyer to the São Conrado Tunnel (reached on Estrada da Gávea and the coast road Avenida Prefeito Mendes de Morais). Its stormy waves attract many surfers. This is also the landing area for hang-gliders coming down from the Gávea Crag.
The 600m/660yd long Praia do Vidigal under the Morro Dois Irmãos is reached by way of the Dois Irmãos Tunnel and Avenida Niemeyer. Its luxury hotels form a stark contrast with the nearby Favela do Vidigal, one of Rio's largest shanty towns.
On the north side of the lagoon, off Rua Jardim Botânico, is the Lage Park (area 523,000sq.m/572,000sq.yds), the buildings in which are protected as national monuments. It contains areas of woodland, gardens, aquaria and a children's playground. The School of Visual Art occupies a luxurious early 20th century building faced with Italian marble and tiles.
City Historical Museum
In a handsome building in Lage Park is the City Historical Museum, with a variety of objects, works of art and documents illustrating the history of the city.
Barra da Tijuca
Barra da TijucaThe beach of Barra da Tijuca extends for 18km/11mi from the Ponta do Joá to the Recreio dos Bandeirantes, taking in the large Lagoa de Marapendi and the Restingas de Itabeba and Jacarepaguá. Farther inland are the Lagoas de Jacarepaguá and da Tijuca. Lengths of beach equipped with bars and restaurants alternate with almost completely untouched stretches favored by surfers. The Praia dos Bandeirantes, where the sea is often rough, ends at the Pontal de Sernambetiba (reached on the coast road Avenida Sernambetiba and Avenida das Américas, which skirts the Restinga de Jacarepaguá.
Bosque da Barra
Bosque da BarraAvenida das Américas and Avenida Alvorada (which branches off Avenida Sernambetiba) runs through the Bosque da Barra (area 500,000sq.m/ 550,000sq.yds), also known as the Arruda-Câmara Park, with lakes, sports facilities and a children's playground.
From Praça Santos Dumont, to the south of the Botanic Garden, Rua Marquàs de São Vicente runs in the direction of Gávea to join Estrada Santa Marinha, which runs into the Municipal Park in Gávea (area 470,000sq.m/514,000sq.yds), with beautiful expanses of grass, footpaths, a small stream and a lake.
Barra de Guaratiba
Barra de GuaratibaThe beach of Barra de Guaratiba, which faces the open sea, lies 45km/28mi from the center of Rio, at the near end of the Restinga de Marambaia. Access by way of the Rio-Santos expressway and Estrada da Barra de Guaratiba.
Catacumba Park (or Marcos Tamoyo Park; area 300,000sq.m/ 328,000sq.yds), has numerous fruit-trees, five viewpoints and several picnic areas. This is a pedestrians-only park; there are occasional open-air events.
Sepetiba BayThe beaches in Sepetiba Bay (60km/37mi from Rio; reached from the Rio-Santos road) are sheltered by the Ilha Grande and the Restinga de Marambaia and offer the attractions of calm water and a few fishing villages.
Cantagalo Park, on the east side of the lagoon, is on Avenida Epitácio Pessoa; it contains a children's playground and various sports facilities.