Between Copacabana Fort and Rua Francisco Otaviano with Avenida Vieira Souto Arpoador is famous for the rock that invades the sea separating Ipanema and Copacabana beach, with one of most beautiful views in Rio: on one side, the Ipanema and Leblon beaches with the Morro Dois Irmãos in the background; on the other, Diabo (Devil´s) and Copacabana beaches. Besides the view and the beach, Arpoador also has a park with lots of green where Brazilian and international stars present popular shows. The park was baptized the “ Garota de Ipanema” (Girl from Ipanema), in homage to the famous song by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, “ cariocas” par excellence.
Address: Between the Forte de Copacabana and the street Rua Francisco Otaviano with the street Vieira Souto.
Aterro do Flamengo
Parque Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, popularly known as the Aterro or landfill, its 1.2 million m² of lawns, flowering shrubs and trees are one of the loveliest and most important landscaping projects designed by Roberto Burle Marx.
Running along the shoreline from the Santos Dumont Airport to Botafogo Bay, this park offers a wide array of attractions. An interesting itinerary starts at the Modern Art Museum, continuing past the Monument to World War II, the Marina da Gloria and the Carmen Miranda Museum, ending at the Monument to Estácio de Sá, founder of the City of Rio de Janeiro. An unforgettable spectacle on the first Sunday of each month is the changing of the guard by all three Armed Forces, at the Monument to World War II Soldier. On Sundays and holidays, this park is closed to traffic, offering the public numerous recreation options.
Address: Centro, Glória and Flamengo
Banco do Brasil Cultural Center
Built in 1880, the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center once served as the head offices of both this bank and the Rio de Janeiro Commercial Association. In 1989 it was converted into a cultural center, that today consists of two theaters, four exhibition halls, a computerized library with over 100,000 volumes, an auditorium, video rooms and a movie theater. In addition to its tasteful architecture, the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center offers a packed schedule of programs that should not be missed by visitors eager to savor a wide variety of cultural offerings.
Address: Rua Visconde de Itaboraí, 78 – Centro – Phone: (21) 2253-5366
Barra da Tijuca Beach
Sweeping some eighteen kilometers south of the city, this magnificent beach is the longest in Rio. Clear waters and perfect waves make this beach a favorite with surfers, boogie-boarders, windsurfers and surf-casters. Lined with colorful bars, kiosks and restaurants, this beach is attracting increasingly large crowds of visitors, particularly on weekends.
Address: Barra da Tijuca – Barra
The sidewalk running along Botafogo Beach in front of the bay of the same name offers one of the loveliest views of the city:with Urca Hill and Sugarloaf right at the entrance to the Guanabara Bay. In the foreground, the boats and sails of the Yacht Club add life and color to the scene. A favorite venue for shows and concerts drawing lively crowds, its facilities include a cycle path and bicycle racks for visitors.
Address: Botafogo Bay
Comfort and leisure for all ages
A true ecological sanctuary. This would be a fair definition of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens, one of the ten most important in the world. Besides housing the rarest species of plants from the flora of Brazil and other countries, it is also an excellent leisure option for children and adults and a delight for those who wish to contemplate nature.
A stroll along the alleys of the park, where wild animals are part of the scenery, to the sound of resident birds such as “curiós” and “sabiás”, fascinates visitors. The exuberance of nature in its colors and variety of flora dazzles and creates images that will be kept in the memory and in the soul. Among the approximately 8200 specimens of the gardens’ live collection, the highlights are the imperial palm trees and threatened species such as “pau-brasil”, “acará amarelo” and “pau mulato”, the medicinal plots and the Japanese gardens, sensorial and rotary. The orchid house is a spectacle by itself. The three thousand specimens of 600 different species are moving for their rare beauty. In 1996 jeweler Antônio Bernardo adopted the collection and has been responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the plants. Other attractions are the approximately 1700 bromeliads of different formations, the violets, the greenhouse of insect-eating plants, which capture and digest insects, the cacti collection, considered to be one of the biggest in Brazil, and the collection of medicinal plants. The Gardens’ six lakes with their gorgeous species of “vitória régia”, lotus, papyrus and “ água-pé” are a must to visitors. Among them, Lago do Frei Leandro (Friar Leandro’s Lake) has been totally restored as a landscape project.
The herons, “bem-te-vis” and butterflies that fly around in the huge green area are a joy to the children. Closer to the earth, they have the privilege of getting to know the most varied species of plants and feel their different scents and textures. The big round fleshy leaves of the “vitória-régia”, for instance, call the kids’ attention and they learn to respect and love nature from an early age. The little ones can go around barefoot and play in the open-air playground specially dedicated to them, with a children’s bathroom, clean sand and a kiosk that offers a menu appropriate for children. While they enjoy themselves playing in the little wooden house, on the slide, see-saw and swing, the grown ups can have a snack at the luncheonette, and later go to the library or have a couple of delicious brownies in the cafeteria. An absolutely comfortable and safe program not to be missed.
In perfect harmony with the park, a rich historical and cultural heritage marks its presence in the Gardens. Historical buildings and monuments dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries tell a little of the history of the region. There can be found the old Fábrica de Pólvora (Gunpowder Factory) built by D. João VI, the Casa dos Pilões (Pestles House), the Casa dos Cedros (Cedars House), the old portal of the Fine Arts Academy and the Empress’ Mansion. In 2001 the latter, after being restored, became the headquarters of the National School of Tropical Botany – the first of its kind in Latin America.
Founded on 13 June 1808 by D. João VI, prince regent at the time, the Botanical Gardens were created for the acclimatization of spices brought from the East Indies. The first plants to arrive came from the garden La Plampemousse on the Mauritius Islands and were offered to D. João by Luiz de Abreu Vieira e Silva. Among them was Palma Mater, one of the oldest imperial palm trees of the Gardens.
Along the two centuries of existence, the Gardens have been given the names of Real Horto, Real Jardim Botãnico, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro and, in 1996 they have become the Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro (Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro Research Insitute). They have come under the protection of the Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (National Historical and Artistic Heritage) – IPHAN – for their historical, cultural, scientific importance and for the design of their landscape. They have also been recognized internationally as a Living Museum in the area of Botany and defined by UNESCO as one of the reserves of biosphere. For 194 years the Gradens have been an example of continuity in relation to their mission of botanic research and conservation of collections.
Address: Rua Jardim Botânico, 920 (pedestriants) and 1008 (cars)- Jardim Botânico – Phone: (21) 2294-9349
Visit: The Botanical Gardens are open everyday from 8 am to 5 pm. There are two entrances from Rua Jardim Botãnico (Jardim Botanico Street) at numbers 920 and 1008. The entrance at number 1008 gives access to a car park and to the Centro de Visitantes (Visitors Center) that caters for the public in general. Children under 7, senior citizens over 65, handicapped visitors with a companion and students of state and municipal schools do not pay. Information: (21) 2294-9349 and 2239-1497.
Burle Marx Estate
Roberto Burle Marx Estate
One of the most important landscape artists of modern times, Roberto Burle Marx left a priceless legacy not only to the city and people of Rio but also to all those who love nature and struggle to preserve it. His estate in Guaratiba, just south of Rio, shelters over 3,500 plant species, many threatened with extinction. It also houses a fabulous art collection, as well as a library with over 2,500 books. Offering a variety of cultural activities, this is today a favorite outing for both children and adults, as well as experts from all over the world.
Location: 2019 Barra de Guaratiba Road – Barra de Guaratiba – Phone/fax: 2410-1412 / 2410-1171
The impressive façade of the Candelária Church rises tranquilly from the bustling financial center of Rio downtown, in the heart of an area rich in cultural attractions. Built in the XVIII Century, its ground-plan is designed in the shape of a Latin cross; lined with marble, its masonry facades feature elaborate bronze doors, with its entire history painted on the walls. This is one of the loveliest churches in Rio de Janeiro.
Address: Praça Pio X – Centro – Tel: (21) 2233-2324
Casa do Pontal
The largest folk art museum in Brazil is located on a quiet estate in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, set between Prainha beach and the Serra do Mar coastal range. Featuring over 5,000 pieces in a wide variety of styles, shapes, materials and sizes, this unique collection has been built up over the past fifty years by French collector Jacques van de Beuque. It also has a database for students and visitors eager for additional information.
Address: Estrada do Pontal, 3295 – Recreio dos Bandeirantes
Tel: (21) 2490-3278
The seat of Brazil’s Republican Government from 1897 through 1960, the neo classical facade of the Catete Palace is faced with granite and pink marble, its gateways framed in white marble. No less than eighteen presidents of Brazil have passed through its doors, and some of the most important events in the nation’s history have taken place here, including decisions to fight in both World Wars and the suicide of President Getúlio Vargas. Transformed into a museum after the Federal Capital moved to Brasilia, this palace today features a busy cultural agenda, in addition to a bookstore, bar, restaurant and souvenir boutique. Its attractive gardens offer moments of peace during the day, and a venue for pleasant evening strolls.
Address: Rua do Catete, 153 – Catete – Tel: (21) 2558-6350
Chacara do Ceu Museum
Once the home of art collector and industrialist Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya, the Chácara do Céu Museum in Santa Teresa links art, history and nature in flawless harmony.Home to a large collection of books, as well as paintings, ceramics, furniture and objets d’art, outstanding items include works by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Miró, Marcoussis, Di Cavalcanti, and Portinari, as well as a large collection of watercolors and drawings by Debret.
Endereço: Rua Murtinho Nobre, 96 – Santa Teresa
Tel: (21) 2285-2545
Christ the Redeemer – “Arms wide open to the world”
More than a postcard, the statue of Christ has been elected “The Wonder of Rio” by residents. Deservedly so. From its location at the top of the 710 meters high Corcovado Mountain, the 38-meter statue is the image of the faith and friendliness of cariocas. The monument, inaugurated on the day of Our Lady of Aparecida, 12 October, of the year 1931 by then President Getúlio Vargas and cardinal Dom Sebastião Leme, has had its 70th anniversary.
Since 2000, when it was given new lighting, the statue and the accesses to it have been through a revitalizing process. The highlight was the inauguration on 20 January 2003 of the mechanized access, with panoramic elevators and escalators. Now it is no longer necessary to climb up the 220 steps to the image.
Each of the three panoramic elevators holds 14 people. The access area caters for visitors who come by car as well as for those who use the train of the Corcovado Railway. The enjoyment begins there since the 31-meter tower offers the first view of the city. Four escalators have been installed, two on each direction, complete the access to the monument. With lateral protection to avoid accidents, the escalators have special devices, such as anti-skidding aluminum on the steps, which guarantee flawless performance and total safety.
New visual communication has also taken over. The belvedere offers maps that point out major tourist landmarks such as Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches and Maracanã Stadium. Found on the parapet, the maps are a great help to those not accompanied by guides.
And even before reaching the statue itself, visitors can get to know a little of its history. Cosme Velho Station, completely revitalized, has become a modern and comfortable place of leisure and entertainment. A new boarding area has been built, besides tourist shops, a VIP room and an auditorium. The Cultural Space (Espaço Cultural) stands out preserving as it does the whole rich history of the Railway and the Monument.
Address: Parque Nacional da Tijuca – Tel: (21) 2232-1149
Access: Estrada de Ferro Corcovado (saídas de 30 em 30 min.) – Rua Cosme Velho, 513
Tel: (21) 2558-1329
A living portrait of the Belle Époque in Rio, and one of the city’s gourmet landmarks, the Confeitaria Colombo still retains much of its Art Nouveau charm dating back to the beginning of the century. Its famous Belgian mirrors in their hardwood frames and rosewood showcases, Italian marble benches, ornate light fixtures, glossy floor and period furniture have been preserved intact, just as they were admired by many famous individuals who helped write the history of Brazil, while also making the Confeitaria Colombo a major downtown attraction.
Address: Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2232-2300
Visit: Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am until 7 pm
It’s almost impossible for visitors to Rio to resist the charm of the city’s eighty kilometers of beaches. Framed by the wavy black and white mosaics of Avenue Atlântica, Copacabana is one of the main reasons for this fascination. In fact, there are two separate beaches here: Leme (one kilometer) and Copacabana, (just over three kilometers). A center of activity both night and day, the beach is lined with kiosks, a bicycle path and racks, lifeguard posts, public showers and bathrooms, hotels, bars and open-air restaurants. The Military Forts at each end are open to visitors, offering panoramic views.
Copacabana Fort History and beauty at the same place Built in 1914 to defend Guanabara Bay, the Copacabana Fort offers visitors many interesting attractions. Outstanding events are recorded for posterity at the Army Historical Museum through displays, video exhibitions, maquettes and even a hi-tech multi-media terminal that is a favorite with visitors to the Fort. All this is set against a panoramic view of one of the loveliest points on the Brazilian coastline.
Address: Praça Coronel Eugênio Franco, 01 – Copacabana
Tel: (21) 2521-1032
One of the first hotels in Rio to be built on the seashore, the Copacabana Palace still reflects the Cultural influences of Europe offering sophisticated service and accommodations. Inaugurated I 1923, this hotel became a symbol of Rio, welcoming a steady flow of famous artists and performers, politicians, executives and international celebrities. Declared part of Brazil´s Historical Heritage, its colorful history includes many fascinating episodes. For instance, it was the setting for the movie “ Flying Down to Rio”, Where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Danced together for the first time.
Address: Avenida Atlântica, 1702 – Praia de Copacabana
Tel: (21) 2548-7070
Fax: (21) 2235-7330
It is impossible to imagine a visit to the city of Rio de Janeiro without a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue. Located at the top of the Corcovado Mountain, the monument is the best well known Brazilian image around the world. Every year more than 600 thousand people are taken to the Corcovado Mountain top by the centenary Corcovado Railway, the oldest tourist spot in the country.
Besides getting dazzled by the beatiful views through the train windows, the passenger goes back through the history of Brazil. Inaugurated in 1884 by the Brazilian Emperor D. Pedro II, the Corcovado Train has taken many visitors to see the Christ the Redeemer statue such as Popes, Kings, Princes, Republic Presidents, artists and scientists. The trip is also an ecological one. The train crosses the biggest urban forest in the world: the Tijuca National Park, a stretch of the Atlantic Forest that is considered a example of the nature’s preservation, as it was replanted in the 19 century. The ones who travel through the forest help to maintain it as the train is an electrical one and, for this reason, does not polute the forest. Also, part of the tickets revenue is destinated to Ibama, the Brazilian institute that preserves and takes care of the Brazilian natural environment.
Address: Rua Cosme Velho, 513
Tel: (21) 2558-1329
The Devil’s Beach (Praia do Diabo) is located on the left side of the Arpoador rock. It is a small beach, facing the open sea, surrounded by coconut trees.There is also a square with benches where one can sit and watch the view drinking a coconut drink.
Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) Belevedere – “Still unknown, it is a perfect spot to enjoy sunsets”
One of the loveliest postcards of Rio de Janeiro, the Dois Irmãos Mountain in the South Zone of Rio should not be admired from a distance only. Around it, where there is already a belvedere – the Sétimo Céu (Seventh Heaven) giving a sweeping panorama of Ipanema, Leblon and São Conrado beaches as well as of Arpoador and of the Christ the Redeemer mountain – a park has been inaugurated.
Little explored by cariocas and visitors, the Dois Irmãos Mountain Park, in Alto Leblon, is perfect for watching sunsets. It takes up an area of 140.000 square meters with dirt trails, a small theater-in-the-round, a soccer field and playground. Until recently only couples in love were prepared to face the steep trails for the sake of a romantic view of the city at twilight. Nowadays with the park visitors are offered comfort and safety in the form of access for cars, policing and lights.
For those with an adventurous spirit there is a radical way to the park through the belvedere. First going to the end of Rue Apiarian (Apiarian Street) in Alto Leblon and from there walking up to Sétimo Céu. Then there is a dirt road that must be followed, always on the right, as far as a descending track on the hillside that leads to the park. During the week esoteric groups visit the park and meditate to the sound of waves. On Saturdays and Sundays the thing to do is to go there for one of the most beautiful natural sights in the world.
Address: Parque do Penhasco Dois Irmãos – Alto Leblon
Fiscal Island – “History and leisure in Guanabara Bay “
As the plane starts to descend on Santos Dumont Airport, all the passengers stretch their necks towards the windows. Tourists and cariocas alike want to enjoy the sight of a little green castle surrounded by coconut trees and palm trees on a small island in Guanabara Bay. Famed as the venue of the last ball hosted by the Brazilian Empire on 9 November 1889, Fiscal Island stands out in the landscape and is an attraction open to the public.
In order to become a part of the circuit of tourist landmarks in 2001, the castle underwent extensive restoration coordinated by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional – IPHAN – (Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute). The works recuperated the splendor of the turret’s painted dome, walls and floor. The exterior also regained its original color. From Thursday to Sunday guided tours explore every corner of the building, one of D Pedro II’s favorites. Among the attractions, halls with temporary and permanent exhibitions that portray the history of the island and of the Brazilian Navy, stained-glass windows and carved stonework – columns, arches, festoons and symbols of the Brazilian Empire.
It all starts on the quay of Espaço Cultural da Marinha where visitors board the tow-boat Laurindo Pitta, the only one of its kind remaining from World War I, for the short crossing
.In the 19th century the island was an object of dispute between the Naval Ministry that wanted it for a rescue station, and the Finance Ministry that wished to set up a customhouse. Called at the time Rats Island, it was entrusted to the Finance Ministry. In 1881 the customhouse started to be built, a design of engineer Adolpho José Del Vecchio. Soon after, the island received the visit of D. Pedro II. Delighted with the superb view of the bay, the Emperor is said to have defined it as “a delicate jewel box, worthy of a dazzling jewel”. Thus Del Vecchio, admirer of the gothic, created a castle inspired by the 14th century French buildings. His design was awarded the Gold Medal at the Escola Imperial de Belas Artes (Imperial Fine Arts School) exhibition.
On 27 April 1889 the building was inaugurated in the presence of the Emperor who was transported to the island on the famous Galeota Imperial (Imperial Galley), currently displayed in the Espaço Cultural da Marinha. The highlights of the castle are the exceptional carved stonework, by Antônio Teixeira Ruiz, the floor of the turret in mosaics made of over ten different species of hardwood, by Moreira de Carvalho and the beautiful work in cast-iron by Manuel Joaquim Moreira. Also remarkable are the wall paintings by Frederico Steckel, the tower clock and the magnificent stained-glass windows imported from England.
Address: Av. Alfredo Agache, no final da Praça Quinze – Centro
Tel: (21) 3870-6992
Visit: Guided tours from Thursday to Sunday at 1 pm, 2:30 pm and 4 pm
Dance Hall Estudantina Opened in 1932, the Gafieira Estudantina was designed as an alternative to the old dance halls popular during the 1930s. Today it is a nightspot which offers a setting for a wide variety of styles and rhythms, helping popularize ballroom dancing. A meeting point for artists, singers and song-writers, it has always attracted many visitors. Today it is renowned worldwide thanks to mentions in tour guides published in countless countries. With a capacity of 1,500 people, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it attracts crowds of enthusiastic dancers. Credit: Riotur Collection
Address: Praça Tiradentes, 79 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2232-1149
Architect: Lúcio Costa Date: 1948. A significant complex of modern buildings conceived from principles proposed by Le Corbusier. Amidst a pleasant public park, the buildings served as a pattern for the residential super-blocks in Brasília.
Address: Rua Gago Coutinho, 66 and Rua Paulo César de Andrade, 70 and 106 – Laranjeiras
Even more irresistible than the muse who inspired the “Girl from Ipanema” – the song which immortalized both her and her neighborhood – there is no doubt that Ipanema is a famous meeting point in Rio de Janeiro.
This sophisticated district offers a lively night life scene with an enticing blend of beach, bars and boutiques. A major attraction throughout the day, its sands also welcome countless after-dark visitors, including joggers and other athletes who cluster at its kiosks, pedal along the bicycle path and make good use of special lighting to exercise and relax. Thanks to its multi-faceted lifestyle, Ipanema truly reflects the Carioca spirit of the people of Rio, welcoming visitors eager to join in the fun.
The further west you go, the more wild beaches become. You have the sensation of being in a small town in the interior of the country with dirt roads and trail. It´s worth taking a day outing to the beach to fully take advantage of the experience.
Address: São Conrado
Racing fans are not the only ones who will enjoy a visit to the Gávea racetrack. One of the city’s historic landmarks, the Jockey Club was designed in Louis XV-style by architect Francisco Couchet, and offer sports, recreation, fashion, receptions, shows as well as – obviously – Brazil’s most important horse-racing events. Located between two other tourist attractions, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and the Botanical Gardens, it offers visitors non-stop thrills.
Address: Praça Santos Dumont, s/nº
Tel: (21) 2512-9988
Lapa – “Cradle of Rio’s bohemian traditions, the district also displays some of the city’s richest architectural assemblage”
Lapa, the district of the Arcos (aqueduct arches), is the only one in Rio that can aggregate various musical trends without obfuscating any genre or artist. It is a stage for samba lyrics, for Northeastern sounds and the modernity of electronic music. There, in downtown Rio, along Mem de Sá, Riachuleo and Lavradio streets, they all co-exist in perfect harmony.
Since the early 50s Lapa has been one of the major references for nightlife in Rio. With its famous cabarets and restaurants, it was then known as the “Montmartre Carioca”, frequented by the cream of the artistic, intellectual, political and diplomatic circles. To this day Lapa throbs with life. City Hall has already restored part of the district, preserving as much as possible of the original architecture from the beginning of the 20th century, which characterizes the place. Visually it is a collection of historical constructions such as the Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches), Passeio Público (Public Promenade), Escola Nacional de Música (National Musica School) and Igreja de N. Sra. Da Lapa (Church of Our Lady of Lapa), veritable icons of Old Rio.
But it is when night falls that Lapa shows why it has established itself as a cultural attraction of Rio. Sala Cecília Meireles (Cecília Meireles Hall), considered to be the best venue for chamber music concerts in the city, shares the street with bar Asa Branca, where the malandro (bohemian rascal) goes for popular music. Bars such as Semente and do Ernesto feature the most carioca version of the samba, the chorinho. Those who favor rodas de samba (ring samba) should visit Emporium 100 and Rio Scenarium, which are antique stores during the day. The same musical styles are also present in Carioca da Gema, Casa da Mãe Joana and Dama da Noite.
The beats of house, techno and other modern rhythms, as well as shows with major MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) artists, can be enjoyed at Fundição Progresso and often at open-air events under one of the arches that is used as both roof and setting. While restaurants such as Nova Capela, Monoel e Joaquim and Bar Brasil guarantee to cater for the gastronomic needs of the night.
Largo do Boticário
Just seven colorful houses form this delightful corner of Rio de Janeiro. Named in honor of Joaquim Luiz da Silva Souto, who once owned an estate here as the apothecary or boticário to the Royal Family the Largo do Boticário features colonial-style facades and roofs around a cobblestoned square shaded by ancient trees with the gentle murmur of the Carioca stream near a lovely patch of Atlantic Rain Forest. Long a magnet for well-known artists, over the years this square has hosted a wide variety of artistic and cultural events that attract crowds of visitors to the Cosme Velho District.
Address: Rua Cosme Velho, 822
Light Cultural Center
Light (Electric Company) Cultural Center This building in American Renaissance Style was built in 1911 on the old Larga Street as the main office and garage for Light cable cars.This building in American Renaissance Style was built in 1911 on the old Larga Street as the main office and garage for Light cable cars. Since 1994, it has housed the center that actively participates in the cultural life of the city. Shows and expositions are presented in its diverse spaces and galleries, highlighting: Espaço Rio Antigo (Old Rio Space), whose collection consists of historical photos by August Malta;Sala Memória (Memory Hall), where photos, equipment, and furniture of the services of The Rio de Janeiro Tramway Light and Power Company are on display; Di Cavalcanti Space, with four canvases by this artist that form the Rio Composition, a vigorous panel on the daily life of the city, in addition to the Lamartine Babo Theater and the Covered Square, where the “Rua Larga Musical Street-car” is set up for various artistic manifestations, highlighting new talents in Popular Brazilian Music.
Address: Rua Marechal Floriano, 168 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2211-4822
Maracanã Soccer Stadium – “Maracanã, international symbol of soccer-land, preserves the history of the sport that looks just like Brazil”
Among the wonders of Rio, Maracanã, largest stadium in the world, is one of the country’s major tourist and cultural patrimonies. In the land of soccer, where this sport is a religion, many consider it the Temple of the Gods. It was built in 1950 for the World Cup, and designed to hold 166,369 spectators. Currently, after reforms, it can hold up to 114,145.
Its official name, Stadium Journalist Mario Filho, is a tribute to one of the most important Brazilian journalists, founder of the newspaper “Jornal dos Esportes”. On 16 June 1950, Maracanã was inaugurated with a match between a team from Rio and one from São Paulo, with immortal Didi scoring the first goal in the history of the stadium. Since then it has been the stage of great triumphs of Brazilian soccer, including the decision of the world championship for clubs in 1963. Approximately 200 thousand people witnessed then the victory of Pelé’s Santos over Milan, the Italian team.
Passion, emotion and lots of adrenalin in the organized supporters shake the stadium and make the public delirious. A compulsory visit for national and international tourists, students and people of all ages, the giant has become internationally known and loses in popularity only to the statue of Christ and the Sugar Loaf.
Maracanã is not only about soccer shows. Great musical productions have taken place there with celebrated international idols such as Frank Sinatra, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Prince and Paul MacCarthney. The latter entered the book of records in 1991 as having the largest audience in history, up to that time, for a solo singer presentation. Other important events were the celebration of an open air mass in 1980 and the Meeting with Families in 1997, both under the leadership of Pope John Paul II.
On the day of Maracanã’s 50th anniversary, 16 June 2000, the Hall of Fame, honoring the period’s top 50 soccer players, was inaugurated. The most important aces in the history of soccer left their footprints for posterity on the sidewalk of fame. Zico, Roberto Dinamite, Luisinho Lemos, Romário, Quarentinha, Valdo, Pinga, Garrincha, Dida and Bebeto were given the title of ten greatest goal scorers. The stadium houses the Sports Museum (Museu do Esporte) where photographs, uniforms – among which the Brazilian team’s shirt number 10 that belonged to Pelé stands out – and trophies are kept.
The Maracanã sports complex, which occupies a total área of 304,284m², includes Maracanãzinho, where competitions and shows take place, Stadium Célio de Barros and Water Park Júlio Delamare (Parque Aquático Júlio Delamare).
Address: Rua Professor Eurico Rabelo, s/n. – Maracanã
Tel: (21) 2568-9962
Visit: Maracanã can be visited everyday including holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm. On match days, visits can be scheduled from 8 am to 11 am.
Marina da Glória
In the downtown area, between Santos Dumont airport and the World War II Monument in Brigadier Eduardo Gomes Park – Aterro da Glória, the Marina serves sportsmen and visitors alike. Whoever observes it from a distance, has the impression of admiring a painting, Nature’s work of art. It occupies a 105,000 square-meter area, has a floating dock and a main dock, as well as a supporting infrastructure for tourist and sports vessels, in addition to restaurants and private parking.
Address: Aterro da Glória
Between the airport Santos Dumont and the monument of the 2nd World War..
Located at the city’s finanical center, the cathedral is already part of the cultural itinerary of the city.
Architect Edgar Oliveira da Fonseca designed this unique building. The monumental construction in the form of a truncated cone is 106 meters in diameter at the base and 96 meters high. It is decorated with 48 low-relief bronze plaques focusing on the theme of Faith.
Inside, the stained glass windows are in vivid colours, spanning the walls on the four cardinal points, allowing sunlight to filter in with varying intensity at different times of the day, thus creating a mystical atmosphere.
The designs in each band of stained glass are differentiated by colour, mirroring the very symbolism of the Catholic Church.
The interior was designed by Father Paulo Lachen Maier, who also redesigned the new sacristy and the baptismal font.
The sculptures adorning the church interior and the panels inside the sacristy were made by Humberto Cozzi.
The basement houses the Sacred Art Museum ,with special mention of the fonts used to baptize the princes of the Royal Family, a statue of N.S.do Rosário, the throne of Dom Pedro II, and the Golden rose awarded to princess Isabel by Pope Leo XIII to celebrate her signing of the Abolition Act.
Address: Avenida República do Chile, 245 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2240-2669
Visit: Daily, from 7am to 5.30PM.
Modern Art Museum
Inaugurated in 1958, the Modern Art Museum has a very unusual history. It has a privileged location on Flamengo Park alongside Guanabara Bay, close to downtown. After a disastrous fire in 1978, hundreds of people all over the world flocked to rebuild this cultural treasure, helping repair the building (130 meters x 25 meters) and replace its collections. It currently houses some 11,000 works including paintings, sculptures and engravings by Brazilian and foreign artists, in addition to a specialized art library and a well-known cinemathèque that is among the most popular in town.
Address: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, 85 – Aterro – Centro
Tel: (21) 2240-4239
Monument to the Soldiers Killed in World War II
Architects: Hélio Ribas Marinho and Marcos Konder Neto. Date: 1952. The monument is dedicated to the Brazilian G.Is (ex-combatants) killed during World War II. Note the interesting murals by Anísio Medeiros. Monument to the Dead in World War II (Modern) Av. Infante Dom Henrique. 26. (Lapa Arches – Carioca Aqueduct) (Colonial) The former aqueduct which supplied the city center with water from the water springs of Santa Teresa. They were built in 1750. There is an interesting collection of eclectic residences along the tram route.
Address: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, s/nº.
Located near the National Library, the National Fine Arts Museum and the Pedro Ernesto Palace, the Municipal Theatre faces the spacious Cinelândia Square. Its attractive architectural design catches the eye, with its imposing facade, paralleled by the beauty of its interior decoration. Built of fine colored Carrara marble, bronze and onyx, it is outfitted with mirrors and period furniture, paintings and sculptures. Seating 2,200 people, this theater is a true temple of culture that is just as popular with visitors as the performances staged here.
Address: Praça Marechal Floriano, s/nº – Centro
Tel: (21) 2277-4141
Naif Art International Museum
MIAN – International Primitive Art Museum Rio is home to the world’s largest and most complete collection of primitive art. Just fifty meters from the mini-train station leading to Christ the Redeemer in the Cosme Velho District, 8,000 works by painters from Brazil and 130 other countries give testimony to this spontaneous and very unacademic type of artistic expression, dating back to the XV Century. This museum also features the largest canvas ever painted in this style, measuring 7 x 4 meters, which portrays the City of Rio de Janeiro in a strikingly original way. It also offers a dynamic cultural program that attracts a steady flow of interested visitors.
Address: Rua Cosme Velho, 561 – Cosme Velho
Tel: (21) 2205-8547
National History Museum
In an harmonious architectural complex this museum was established in 1922 during the Epitácio Pessoa Government. Covering an area of 18.000m², the National History Museum is housed in three separate buildings constructed at different times: the Casa do Trem (1762); the Royal Arsenal (1822); and the Barracks Annex (1835). Once set right on the seafront, it was originally planned as a strategic factor in the defense of the city. Today it is home to a priceless cultural treasure trove.
Address: Praça Marechal Âncora, s/nº – Centro
Tel: (21) 2220-2328
God is an artist.And Rio, His masterpiece. The first brush stroke was blue: the sea. Green paint spattered on the canvas and spread over a large area: the forest. Afterwards, came the mountains with water cascading over them: the waterfalls. In this scenario, special characters were necessary. It was then that the “cariocas” were born with their legendary good humor. Even the asphalt did not change the landscape. After ali, Rio has the only urban forest in the world. Of its total area, 18% is pure green. Only the “carioca/1 has the privilege of going home from work watching the sunset by the seaside. When the weekend arrives, there’s the choice between 83 kilometers of beaches and lots of waterfalls to visit and cool off in. Or walk at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, go hang gliding, sailing, or mountain climbing. Ali this without going very far from home. That’s why Rio is incomparable. Nature, a unique spectacle in the world.
Nsa Sra da Gloria do Outeiro Church
This architectural jewel is part of the Rio landscape since the first half of the XVII Century. Its unique design is based on a polygonal ground plan with a domed roof, which ushered in a pioneering style in Brazil. Attended by the Imperial Family, this precious treasure is part of Brazil’s royal legacy. Floodlit at night, it is a not-to-be-missed stop on any cultural tour of Rio de Janeiro.
Address: Praça N. S. da Glória, 135 – Glória
Tel: (21) 2285-2600
Nsa. Sra. de Bonsucesso Church
Built as part of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia complex, the church of Nossa Senhora de Bonsucesso is one of the oldest in Rio. Construction began here in 1576, alongside Castelo Hill. Rebuilt in 1780, it still retains the altars and pulpit from the equally ancient Jesuit Church which was destroyed when Castelo Hill was razed.
Address: Rua Santa Luzia , 206 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2220-3001
Paquetá Island – “An invitation to tranquility only a few minutes from downtown Rio”
A few minutes from the busy metropolis, right in the heart of Guanabara Bay, Paquetá is a gift to cariocas. A tropical island that attracts national and international tourists, it is a perfect natural setting for romance, strolls and fun. Paquetá is indeed a special place to visit beginning with the pleasant journey on a ferry, catamaran or hydroplane across the Bay, with the sea breeze for company. On landing, the visitor will find no traffic of motorized vehicles on the island where bicycles and horse-drawn carriages move on the gravel of streets lined with colorful flamboyant. The streets take up only 10,9 km² of the total area, so the island is noise and pollution free.
Ever-present nature characterizes the place. Paquetá has the 20 only Brazilian baobabs – an African tree that residents call “Maria Gorda” (Fat Mary). Another typical tree is flamboyant, some of the specimens being 100 years old. The name of the island is a Tupi (Brazilian Indian language) word meaning “many shells”, due to the vast quantities that can be found on the beaches of calm and inviting waters. Excursions to Pedra da Moreninha (Moreninha Rock) and Parque Darke de Mattos (Darke de Mattos Park) should not be missed. The park was totally revitalized recently, the re-urbanization works having been carried out by Rio City Hall. In the late afternoon, there is nothing better than watching the sunset. On Morro da Cruz (Hill of the Cross) there is a belvedere that is also a must as it gives a partially panoramic view of the island.
Since 1883 Paquetá has been part of Rio de Janeiro municipality. From the graveled streets one is able to observe buildings of various architectural styles, including the Mansion where D. João VI stayed, and the house that belonged to José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, the patriarch of independence.
Address: São Conrado
Quinta da Boa Vista
The park is part of the Solar of the Boa Vista, the royal residence, which was home to the emperors in Brazil from 1822 to 1889, when the Republic was proclaimed. It has a 155 thousand squaremeter area, andscaped in 1869 by the French landscaper Auguste Glaziou. On entering the lateral gateways, the visitor goes down a path lined with sapucaia trees and through the romantic alleys created by the landscaper, with lakes! grottos, and corners in the Imperial gardens. Location: Pedro II Av., between Almirante Baltazar and Dom Meinrado streets – São Cristóvão. Visits to the National Museum: from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Free visits on Thursdays.
Address: Av. Pedro II, entre as Ruas Almirante Baltazar e Dom Meinrado – São Cristóvão.
Quinze de Novembro Square
The Quinze de Novembro Square was originally a morass of mangrove swamps where ships and boats boarded.
As part of the nation’s heritage, it was here that the history of Rio de Janeiro began. After recent modernization and reurbanization projects undertaken by the City Council, bars, restaurants, open-air fairs, museums and colorful crowds all endow this square with a special charm.
Address: Praça Quinze – Centro
Rio Niteroi Bridge
Opened to vehicle traffic on March 5, 1974, its true name is President Costa e Silva Bridge and it is the largest bridge in the world in terms of construction volume. It is 13.9 kilometers long and 20 meters wide. The total constructed area is 210,600 square meters; it is the largest structure of its kind to this date.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon
Surrounded by Rio’s favorite neighborhoods _ Lagoa, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea e Jardim Botânico – framed by mountains and embraced by Christ the Redeemer, the Lagoon is an impressive sight at sunset as the light reflects on its serene quiet waters and it becomes a meeting place for cariocas and visitors alike. Linked to the sea by the Jardim de Alah canal that divides Ipanema from Leblon, it is encircled by parks, multi-sports courts, a roller-skating rink, a heliport, jogging and bicycle paths, and an outdoor food court with kiosks serving a wide variety of dishes ranging from German to Japanese, in addition to live music that starts at sunset. On Sundays and holidays, paddleboats reveal to visitors a unique view of everything one of the most beautiful Rio postcards can offer, .
The banks of the lagoon contain one of the best-equipped leisure areas in the city and invite the visitor to go walking, jogging or cycling on bicycles hired on the spot. The 7.5 km include the Parques dos Patins, Taboas e Catacumba (Patins, Taboas and Catacumba Parks). The three parks offer countless sporting and gastronomic options. Follows below a little itinerary
Parque dos Patins (Av. Borges de Medeiros s/nº)
Between Club Piraque and the heliport, Parque dos Patins may be a good leisure option with several activities from skating to simultaneous shows at the kiosks that serve a great variety of dishes of different cuisine from around the world.
Parque da Catacumba (Av. Epitácio Pessoa s/nº)
This scenic park may be seen as a lovely open-air museum inside a small nature reserve. A total of 32 sculptures by different artists integrate harmoniously the atmosphere of the park, which is ideal for strolls. Great dishes and tidbits from all over the world are offered as well.
Parque dos Taboas (Av. Borges de Medeiros s/nº)
Between two famous Rio clubs, Clube de Regats Flamento and Clube Caiçaras, the park is a real sports court that assembles aficionados of various sports such as soccer, tennis and skating. Kiosks are found in the sports area.
Address: Avenida Epitácio Pessoa e Avenida Borges de Medeiros – Lagoa
Sanctuary – Barra da Tijuca
The ecological reservations allow the opportunity to get to know the original vegetation of the “Marvelous City”, the Mata Atlântica. It offers direct contact with nature you can bathe in the waterfalls and appreciate beautiful sites. There are many options, all you have to do is follow the set trails and adhere to a few safety tips: 1) Never walk alone, go with a tourist guide specialized in natural attractions. 2) Take a light lunch and water in your backpack. 3) Were light clothes such as shorts, cotton T-shirts, socks and walking shoes. 4) Take a raincoat, cellular phone, lantern, sun protecting cream, cap and plastic bags to serve as wastebaskets. 5) Walks should always begin in the morning and always let someone outsides of your hiking group know where you are.
The district of Santa Teresa started next to a convent on Morro do Desterro, Rio de Janeiro, in the 18th century. Set on a hillside in the center of the city, it seems to have stopped in time maintaining, as it has for decades, preserved features of Old Rio and a bit of history in each corner.
Writers and artists have always been seduced by the district’s call to internal life and to its architectural and cultural treasures, visible to the eye and cherished by the heart. A symbol of counterculture and of the art shown in its many studios and ateliers, any artistic expression finds its home in Santa, as its admirers prefer to call it. Everything that exists in Santa Teresa and that is known about it is also part of the history of Rio. To the visitor, however, it seems like a place apart with its own characteristics.
The narrow and winding streets with the old tramcars, the last to be found in the whole of Brazil, are one more singular attraction. The charming vehicles, which date from the 19th century, were moved by animal traction at first and later by electricity. Survivors of romantic times, they are now protected as historical heritage and still go along perfectly preserved tracks taking visitors to a re-reading of the past.
The tram car ride starts downtown, crosses the Lapa Arches and follows the up and down route through the slopes of Santa Teresa. It leaves from the station in Largo da Carioca, very near the headquarters of Petrobrás in Lélio Gama Street. With its delightful garden, the site is a foretaste of what is to come.
The fare of less than R$ 1 gives the right to a ride on the famous yellow tram. Two lines go through Santa Teresa, Paula Matos and Dois Irmãos, with an interval of 15 minutes between departures. There are also two excursions with guides on Saturdays, Passeio Histórico, leaving at 10 am and following a cultural route that takes approximately one hour, and Ecológico, leaving at noon on a longer visit of two hours which includes a track through the forest.
Tram drivers are repositories of picturesque and intriguing stories that they enjoy telling. Out there there are cultural centers, old rural properties, castles, squares, restaurants, studios, handicraft stores. Besides the dazzling city views, the statue of Christ the Redeemer can be seen blessing the city. The trams always stop for a while at the Museu do Bonde (Tram Museum) with all manner of information about those vehicles and some old replicas – true relics preserved through time.
Exploring romantic Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa Church and Convent
The district was named after Igreja e Convento de Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa Church and Convent). The convent houses the Ordem das Carmelitas Descalças (Order of the Barefoot Carmelite Nuns) who live in almost total isolation a very simple, humble and discreet life. Few residents have ever seen the nuns in the neighborhood.
Largo do Curvelo (Curvelo Square)
The tram arrives at Almirante Alexandrino Street, the oldest in the district. There is found Casa Navio (Ship House) inspired on the deck of a vessel, pure architectural daring. And from this street the surprising Castelo de Valentim (Valentim Castle), a fortress in neo-romantic style, can be seen. It was built in the late 19th century as residence of comendador Antônio Valentim and designed by his son. Nowadays it is an apartment building. Nearby there is a belvedere that overlooks beautiful Guanabara Bay.
Largo dos Guimarães e Largo das Neves (Guimarães and Neves Squares)
The tram goes into the heart of the district. All you have to do now is enjoy the bohemian lifestyle of Santa Teresa. On Guimarães Sqaure there is a collection of favorite restaurants and bars serving iced beer and good hors d’oeuvres. Among them, Bar do Mineiro, Bar do Arnaudo (northeastern cuisine), Sobrenatural (seafood) e Adega do Pimenta (German). Sunset brings the lively presence of artists, intellectuals, lots of beautiful people and Brazilian popular music. The tram tracks lead to Largo das Neves, with its lovely old houses dating from the 1850s and the 1860’s Igreja Nossa Senhora das Neves (Church of Our Lady of the Snow), as well as a series of very popular bars. This is the final stop of the tram and the place to try the caldo verde (traditional Portuguese soup) of Bar do Goyabeira, the sandwiches of Café das Neves or the shrimp pastry of Santa Saideira.
Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park)
Set high up on the hill with a view of the entire city, from Santos Dumont Airport to Urca, the Park has become a superb belvedere. Right below are the Lapa Arches. Open to the public, it is what was left of Palacete Murtinho Nobre, once home to Laurinda Santos Lobo. The house was one of the major meeting places of representatives of the city’s cultural life until the death of the hostess in 1946. City Hall has recreated from ruins the culture that lived there once. The park houses an exhibition room, auditorium and cafeteria for the comfort of visitors, music shows, happy hours and reading of literary texts. Outside, popular shows are presented and on weekends there is a special program for children. Three storey high, the house in brick, metal and glass calls attention for its architecture and style.
Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo (Laurinda Sntos Lobo Cultural Center)
In a fine house in the neighborhood, a cultural center in honor of Laurinda Santos Lobo was inaugurated in 1979. Laurinda was a remarkable woman who, in the early 20th century, virtually commanded Rio’s intellectual life hosting soirées and making of Santa Teresa a lively and graceful neighborhood. The photographic collection shows Laurinda in action and takes the visitor back to those days. The center also houses video rooms and spaces for exhibitions.
Museu Casa de Benjamin Constant (House of Benjamin Constant Museum)
The tram goes past a splendid country estate that was once the home of Benjamin Constant de Magalhães, leader of the republican movement. The residence, completely renovated, has been turned into a museum with furniture, books, objects, photographs and art collections. The trees around the museum make the area ideal for a quick rest. The Museum does not house the Benjamin Constant Institute situated in Urca. Benjamin Constant founded and for many years directed the Blind Children’s Institute, and that is why the Urca Benjamin Constant Institute for the blind bears his name.
Museu Chácara do Céu (Chácara do Céu Museum)
Raymundo Castro Maya was a successful executive who devoted himself to the cultural life of the city as collector and patron. The property, which Castro Maya inherited in 1936, is one more attractions in the district. The building, designed in 1957 by modernist architect Wladimir Alves de Souza, is now Museu Chácaro do Céu where the visitor will find an important collection of modern art with highlights such as works by Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Guinard, Picasso, Matisse and Dalí. In paintings, watercolors and engravings, 19th century Brazil is shown through the eyes and art of travelers such as Debret and Taunay..
Estação Carioca (Carioca Station)
Rua Lélio Gama, 65, Downtown
Museu do Bonde (Tram Museum)
Rua Carlos Brant, 14, Santa Teresa
Igreja e Convento de Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa Church and convent)
Ladeira de Santa Teresa, 52
Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park)
Rua Murtinho Nobre, 169, Santa Teresa
Museu Casa de Benjamin Constant (House of Benjamin Constant Museum)
Rua Monte Alegre, 225, Santa Teresa
Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos (Laurinda Santos Lobo Cultural Center)
Rua Monte Alegre, 306, Santa Teresa
Address: Estação de Bondes – next to the Aqueduto da Carioca, in the street Lélio Gama.
Tel: (21) 2249-5709
São Bento Monastery
The Beneditine monks Pedro Ferraz and João Porcalho received a donation of a stretch of land in 1590 from nobleman Manuel de Brito, who had already built a ermida or rustic church there, dedicated to N.S. da Conceição.
The Monastery of São Bento emerged on the hill, with a panoramic view of the Guanabara Bay, some twenty years after de foundation of the City of Rio de Janeiro, in 1565.
In 1602 the name of the Church was changed to N.S. de Monserrat.
The monastery, which has been compared to a museum, has a monastic simplicity making it one of the most beautiful architectural complexes in Brazil.
The harmony amongst the various parts built at different stages in history resulted from the rule of the Benedictine school, which by tradition only uses artists and builders belonging to the Order. One exception was the author of the church’s and monastery’s design, Master Engineer Francisco de Frias da Mesquita, who was comissioned to design them in 1617. He is credited with concise, simple treatment of the frontspiece, which constitutes the oldest part of the compound, built from 1666 to 1669 along with the choir loft.
Austerity and Classicism along with Mannerism are evident in the rigid symmetry, in the vertical and horizontal divisions of the masonry in the center of the façade with its triangular gable, flanked by squared-section towers topped with pyramids. the three full-arch archways, forming a covered portico, belong to the Benedictine traditions of the time. In 1880 the latter were closed with the current German cast-iron gratings.
There is a surprising contrast between the austere purposefully simple appearance of the exterior and the richness of the interior highlighting gilded Baroque engravings with plants motifs and the exuberant Rococo style in the engraving on the high altar, cross vaulting and Chapel of the Santíssimo Sacramento.
The doors are huge and beautiful, they are sculptured in bronze by Teixeira Lopes, cast in Bruzy, France, and exhibited at the Paris World Fair in 1889.
In 1775 a new design was commissioned to Major Engineer Francisco Roscio, but the new church building was not dedicated untill 1811, with the Prince Regent himself atending.
New remodeling took place in the mid-19th century, lasting untill 1890, when the church building was rededicated. The only survinving part of Francisco roscio’s design is the façade.
Address: Rua Dom Gerardo, 68 – Centro
Tel: (21) 2291-7122
Visit: Visits: Daily, 8-11am, 2.30-6pm
São João Fortress
Ordered to be built by Estácio de Sá, the founder of Rio de Janeiro, since his arrival on March 1, 1565, São João Fort officially began to operate on June 24, 1618. A reproduction of the founding mark of the City of Rio de Janeiro is found there. Today São João Fort continues to mark the entrance of the bay to the harbor and, in addition to the fort itself, it lodges the Graduate War School and the Research & Development Institute.
Address: Av. João Luís Alves s/nº – Urca
Sugar Loaf – “A ride on the cable car reveals unique landscapes”
The Sugar Loaf cable car, an idea of Brazilian engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos inaugurated on 27 October 1912, had its ninetieth anniversary in 2002. The first installed in Brazil and the third in the world, it is a major icon of Rio tourism and has become a trademark of the city. From the inauguration to the above-mentioned anniversary it transported 31 million tourists. In December, January, February and July – high season – daily attendance goes to three thousand people.
In the nine decades during which it has operated, the cable car has received tourists from all over the world, including internationally known personalities, authorities and artist, such as Einstein in 1925; former presidents John Kennedy of the United States, José Sarney of Brazil and Lech Walesa of Poland; singers Roberto Carlos and Sting; soccer players Roanldinho and Romário; actors Roger Moore, Robert de Niro, Gina Lollobrigida, Brooke Shields and Sônia Braga, among others.
Considered to be one of the safest in the world by international agencies of passenger cable cars, it has never had an accident with casualties. The current lines have safety devices with alarm at all points.
Every morning, before receiving the first tourists, the cable cars have a trial run. The route is entirely programmed by electronic equipment that checks 47 safety items.
The tourist complex includes three stations, Praia Vermelha, Morro da Urca and Pão de Açucar which are joined by four cable cars – two going between Praia Vermelha to Morro da Urca and two between Morro da Urca and Pão de Açucar. Urca Mountain (Morro da Urca) is 220m high and Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açucar), 396m high.
The Sugar Loaf is surrounded by vegetation characteristically tropical, with vestiges of the Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) containing native species that have disappeared from other areas of the Brazilian coast. It also boasts rare vegetal species, such as the orchid “laelia lobata” that can only be found in two places on the planet, Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açucar) and Gávea Rock (Pedra da Gávea), both in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian mountain with the greatest number of climbing tracks (up to 1997 there were 38), the Sugar Loaf is visited daily by hundreds of Brazilian and foreign climbers, mountaineers and ecologists.
Besides being a tourist and ecological landmark for Rio, the complex has also been a cultural pole. Since the 70s it has housed in the Urca Mountain amphitheater – the Green Shell (Concha Verde) –
musical shows that have launched great talents of Brazilian music to an audience of up to 50 thousand a year. Between 1977 and 1987 it also staged celebrated carnival balls such as the “Sugar Loaf Carnival Ball”. Currently the amphitheater is used for art exhibitions, business conferences, cocktails for the launching of products, dinners and parties.
A challenge to engineering
The cable car history is directly linked to the city’s: its creator, Augusto Ferreira Ramos, imagined an aerial way to the Sugar Loaf in 1908 when he took part in an exhibition at Praia Vermelha to celebrate the centenary of the opening of Brazilian ports to friendly nations.
The Sugar Loaf Company (Companhia Caminho Aéreo Pão de Açúcar) was then founded with a capital of 360 “contos de réis” and in 1910 the construction of the first Brazilian cable car was initiated. “Brazilians and Portuguese worked on it with German equipment and materials, which were transported to the top of the mountains by hundreds of workmen in what was at the time a dangerous and daring engineering operation”, says Maria Ercília Leite de Castro, general director of the enterprise.
The first 575m stage, between Praia Vermelha and Morro da Urca, was inaugurated on 27 October 1912, when 577 people went up on the wooden car with a capacity for 24 passengers. On 18 January of the following year the stage Urca/Pão de Açucar was inaugurated.
In May1969, under the administration of engineer Cristóvão Leite de Castro, the Sugar Loaf Company signed a contract with the Government of the State of Guanabara by which it would double the aerial line with another cable car. The company decided then to install a new and modern cable car service with four cars, each holding 75 passengers. The works, calculated in US$ 2 million and which demanded the removal of three great one-thousand-ton blocks of rock from the top of the Sugar Loaf, took two years to be completed. On 29 October 1972 the cable cars now in use started to operate.
Change of cables
For the Sugar Loaf Company, the celebrations for the 70 years of the cable car service started on June 14 2002, when the complex reopened to the public after 75 days devoted to the change of the cables that according to international recommendations must be changed every 30 years. The company invested US$ 852,000 on the operation.
There were also changes made to improve the quality of service: new glasses and anti-skidding floor for the cars; better lighting, new furniture and landscaping for the stations. The shops were also redone. One example is the restaurant Estação Gourmet, set on a suspended deck, the cuisine under the responsibility of chef Cláudia Vasconcellos. Costumers are invited to enjoy the most beautiful sceneries of Rio while tasting a frozen “caipirinha” (local drink with Brazilian rum) or a glass of wine with sandwiches and delicacies. On Saturdays there is a delicious “feijoada”, typical dish of black beans and meats.
The company has also acquired five platforms of access to the stations for the physically handicapped, at the cost of R$ 190.000, which will be installed in two months once the public authorities have approved the project.
Address: Avenida Pasteur, 520 – Urca
Tel: (21) 2546-8400
Visit: Operating daily from 8 am to 10 pm Children under 5 have free entry
Home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, found only in the Atlantic Rainforest, this is the world’s largest urban forest, covering some 3,200 hectares. Its historical attractions and enchanting nooks are well worth a leisurely visit. Just a short drive from the financial center downtown, the North Zone and Rio’s smart beach districts, its attractions include the Cascatinha Waterfallll, the Mayrink Chapel, the Excelsior Lookout Point, the Paul and Virginia Grotto, Fairy Lake and, all favorite destinations for weekend family outings.
Tijuca Forest History
The Tijuca Forest was reforested in the middle of the 19 Century after years of intense deforesting and planting (specially coffee plantations).
The replanting was a pioneer initiative in all Latin America.
The person responsible for the replanting, nominated by the Emperor D.Pedro II in 1861, was Major Gomes Archer , the first forest administrator who worked initially with 6 slaves and, later, with 22 paid workers, planting in 13 years 100 thousand seedlings. The replanting was made with species, in its great majority, natives of the Atlantic Forest Ecosystem.
The second administrator, Baron Gastão D’ Escragnole continued the replanting from 1874 to 1888. In addition to introducing more 30 thousand seedlings, transformed the forest in a leisure area, a park for public use, including exotic species, creating bridges, fountains, lakes and leisure areas with the orientation and help of the French landscaper Augusto Glaziou.
Still in the 19 Century , the painter Nicolas Antoine Taunay dweller and landowner of a farm in the forest, portrayed its natural beauties that represent today a historical memory of the City of Rio de Janeiro.
The painter received his friends and members of the imperial court in his house rendering the attractions of the forest known to Brazilians and foreigners that came to visit him.
In the 20 Century, Raimundo Ottoni de Castro Maya administrated the forest from 1943 to 1946. He made the park come to life again, which had been forgotten during the first years of the Republic.
In partnership with the architect Vladimir Alves de Souza and with the landscaper Roberto Burle Marx, Castro Maya recuperated the forest receiving 1 cruzeiro ( symbolic) as payment for its administration.
During the works of resurgence of the forest build in works of art, constructions and niches. Other services and public baths were installed in the park. Two restaurants were opened – Os Esquilos and Floresta (the Squirrels and Forest – using old farm coffee premises in one of them). Inaugurated the Brazilian Horse Society in the old house of Baron Bom Retiro.
Many farmers – like the Conde Gestas, Baron of Mesquita, Counselor Mayrink, Viscount of Asseca, in addition to the ones already mentioned before, the professionals as Job de Alcântara and Luiz Fernandes and the slaves Eleuthério, Pai Ricardo e Pai Antonio and other well known visitors, left their names in the history of the park in hills, roads, tracks, caves, niches, waterfalls etc.
The forest became then a privileged place where nature and culture entwine, harmonize and complement each other.
Address: Praça Afonso Viseu, Alto da Boa Vista – Tijuca
Tel: (21) 2492-5407
West Zone – “Exuberant nature amidst condominiums and shopping malls”
Co-existing with the many constructions that foment investment in the West Zone, nature is still one of the region’s major attractions. Originally dominated by sandbanks and marshland between Marapendi and Jacarepaguá Lagoons, the West Zone preserves parks that offer besides proximity with nature an infrastructure that caters for children, plus jogging tracks and picnic sites. The initiative to preserve nature in the West Zone has existed for decades and was reinforced in 1969 when architect and urbanist Lúcio Costa elaborated the Plano-Piloto da Baixada de Jacarepaguá with directives aimed at the environmental conservation of the region.
Bosque da Barra (Barra Woods), also known as Arruda Câmara Park, is a very popular 50 hectares green area in the West Zone. Located on Km 6 Avenida das Américas, Barra da Tijuca, it is an ecological pocket within a very busy area. The leisure structure of the park offers walking alleys, woody stretches, volley ball courts, soccer pitches, enormous lawns, playgrounds and stone barbecue fireplaces, all surrounding its great lake. Among the species of flora that can be seen and that maintain their original sandbank with sandy areas, swamp and marshland characteristics, some are endangered.
Covering an area of 10,000 m², The Parque Natural Municipal de Marapendi (Marapendi Municipal Park), in Baixada de Jacarepaguá is well worth a visit as well. Between Ayrton Senna and Pedro Moura Avenues, it is near Marapendi Lagoon and its sandbank vegetation. Since 1991 an area of environmental preservation, Área de Proteção Ambiental (APA), the park is a refuge for birds, crabs, lizards and even for the jacaré-do-papo-amarelo (yellowthroat alligator). Playground, trails and picnic areas make it even more enjoyable for the visitor.
Parque Ecológico Municipal Chico Mendes (Chico Mendes Ecological Park) was created to preserve Lagoinha das Tachas and its surroundings that shelter endangered fauna and flora. The yellowthroat alligator has become a sort of mascot of the park following its successful reintroduction in the landscape. An educational site, the park is the only area in the city where marshes and sandbanks are still virtually intact. Situated on the Pontal de Sepetiba, between Avenida das Américas and Avenida Sernambetiba, it is the habitat of bromeliads, fruit trees, ingás and reptiles. For children there are an alligator nursery, an animal exhibitions room and a library, plus a leisure structure with playground and picnic area.
Farther away there are other green and environmentally protected areas such as APA de Grumari, Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca and Reserva Biológica e Arqueológica de Guaratiba. A good choice is Sítio Roberto Burle Marx (Roberto Burle Marx Estate), in Guaratiba, where the most important landscape artist in the country lived and left his art collection, including some of his own works, and collection of plants from all over the world. Visits can be arranged by appointment with guides.
The largest folk art museum in Brazil, Casa do Pontal is located on an estate in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, set between the sea and Gramari ecological reserve. Its collection of 5,000 pieces features over 200 artists from all over Brazil, including mestre Vitalino and Zé Cabloco. The works are displayed in thematic groups that cover different aspects of human life and activities portrayed realistically, often humorously and poetically. Among them the life cycle, festivities and leisure, religiosity, the professions and the greatest popular Brazilian celebration, Carnaval.
The gardens are an attraction in themselves, there is green everywhere and the papyrus and lotus flowers delighted visitors. The Casa do Pontal Museum was created by French designer Jacques Van de Beuque to house his private collection put together over the last 50 years. Protected by the Patrimônio Histórico Cultural (Historical Heritage) it has been considered a true anthropological museum by UNESCO.