Rio de Janeiro is the only city in the world with a rainforest inside its city borders. The National Park of Tijuca measures 33 square kilometres and harbours a great diversity of flora and fauna. Iguanas, howler monkeys, snakes and many different kinds of birds make their home just outside Rio’s dense neighbourhoods. A natural paradise in the centre of a metropolis.
Scientists have calculated that the coastal rainforest is approximately 60 million years old. The original inhabitants of the rainforest are the Tupi and Tamoio Indians. With the arrival of the French and Portuguese in the 16th century, most Indians were driven out of this area. Trees were cut down to build houses and make room for sugar cane and coffee plantations. In 1861 the tide turned when the Tijuca Forest became a protected area. A century later it was proclaimed a national park.
“More than 200 hiking trails lead to lush waterfalls and green jungle”