A serene, verdant oasis in the midst of bustling Rio de Janeiro, the city’s Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico) offers a chance to see and learn about both Amazonian and imported plants. There are over 6,500 species of plant contained in the 133-acre (54-hectare) plot, as well as an important research facility and botanical library.
Rio’s shady Botanical Garden, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to a part of the Atlantic Forest, is a lovely place to wander and escape the city’s crowds, traffic, and penetrating sunshine. Highlights include a lake containing massive water lilies, a huge catalog of orchids and bromeliads, and the Japanese Garden. Prince Regent Dom João founded the garden in 1808, and today they are used as a research center as well as for public enjoyment. Walk down the Avenue of Royal Palms, lined with 134 majestic palm trees, and into the garden, where you will find the first tea, cloves, and cinnamon imported and acclimated to Brazil. While admiring the flora, look out for native wildlife, including capuchin monkeys, tufted-ear marmosets, and more than 140 species of bird.
Guided tours of the Botanical Garden offer insights into its history and mission from a knowledgeable local guide. You can easily combine guided tours of Corcovado, the Christ the Redeemer statue, and Sugar Loaf Mountain with a stop at the botanical garden, as well as other city highlights such as Ipanema, Copacabana, and Parque Lage.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Rio’s Jardim Botânico is a must for nature and wildlife lovers.
- Entrance fees are payable in cash only. Guided tours of the garden typically include these fees.
- The Children’s Park offers a sandbox and play structure for kids 10 years old and under, as well as picnic tables and a café with kid-friendly food.
- The Jarbô Café and Garden Café offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beverages.
How to Get There
The garden is situated in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood, in southeast Rio. Reach it easily by catching any bus marked Jardim Botânico from Centro or the 571, 572, or 594 from the Zona Sul.
When to Get There
The garden is open during daylight hours every day except December 25 and January 1. Check ahead for special programming including music and shows geared toward kids. Weekdays are known for peace and quiet; the garden is busy with families and visitors on the weekends.
Research at the Botanical Garden
The on-site Barbosa Rodrigues Library holds a collection of more than 109,000 volumes of rare works, dissertations, theses, and scientific papers on botany. The garden’s seed and plant catalog is part of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, aimed at saving current plant species from extinction.