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The rainforest in the heart of the city

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.

The Tijuca rainforest
The Tijuca rainforest

Rio de Janeiro

The man who stands guard over Rio

The park’s most famous attraction is the Cristo Redentor, the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer who looks out over the city of Rio. A red tram, the ‘Trem do Corcovado’, climbs through the rainforest almost to the foot of the statue. After a 20-minute ride, get ready to climb 220 steps to reach the base of the statue; but don’t worry, there is also an elevator and an escalator. At the top you will be rewarded with a magnificent 360 degree view of the park, the beaches and the city.
Cristo Redentor

“More than 200 hiking trails lead to lush waterfalls and green jungle”

A myriad of hiking trails

The rainforest is a great place to relax. During the week, Cariocas (the inhabitants of Rio) come here to enjoy a picnic in the lush surroundings. There are also numerous walks: the park has more than 200 hiking trails which are best explored with a guide. You can also discover the park with a guided jeep tour. To venture out into the park on your own, purchase a map at the kiosk or the visitor’s centre or simply follow the signs.

Crystal clear water

Temperatures may soar in Tijuca, but fortunately the park has several waterfalls that are great for a refreshing dip. The 2 most impressive waterfalls are Cascata Gabriela with a small natural pool surrounded by tall trees, and the 30-metre-high Cascatinha Taunay, near the park entrance. Although brooks and creeks provide plenty of refreshment, it is important to bring enough drinking water.
Cascatinha Taunay