Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro
The Tijuca Forest is the only rainforest located within a city. It is fantastic, with waterfalls, coffee plants, banana plants, wildlife, etc. One of the neatest plants in the forest is a tree whose leaves turn grey after it reaches 60 years of age!!! The group I was touring with hired a guide who drove us through the Tijuca Forest in a jeep.
The picture is of a plant whose leaves grow directly below each other. They have holes to let the sunlight through.
The Tijuca rainforest is 120 sq km and is the largest city park in the world and is a rainforest completely surrounded by the urban centre of Rio de Janeiro. It is hard to believe this rain forest is so close to such a giant city. The entire park closes at sunset.
A maior floresta urbana do mundo, encravada em um dos maiores bairros residenciais do Rio, um parque muito bonito que vale a visita
The world´s biggest urban rain forrest, a very nice park which is worth a visit
Floresta da Tijuca starts immediately west of the summit of Corcovado and extends quite a ways westward and inland as Parque Nacional da Tijuca. It is a remarkably well-preserved Atlantic forest ecosystem. You can enter the forest from different directions and drive through it on narrow, winding roads, feeling far removed from the urban life of Rio.
A segment of the road starting from the base of the Corcovado summit gets blocked off on weekends for the pedestrians. There are exercise stations, water splashing onto the road for shower, and even a small rock face for rock-climbing. Along the way you can have a peek-a-boo view of the Lagoon and the waterfront neighborhood, as well as seeing birds and monkeys that inhabit the forest.
The Tijuca National Park is located right in the middle of the city. It covers and area of 33 square kilometers and it is the second smallet Brazilian National Park. It's vegetation was replanted after a decrete to take the land back from all the coffee and sugar cane plantations. A lot of the original fauna was already lost, but with great effort the Forest was replanted and it is now the place of an amazing flora and fauna diversity. It is easy to get to the park these days because it is divided in three parts by major roads. One part next to the ocean is Pedra da Gavea and Pedra Bonita that you can access through Canoas Road (Estrada das Canoas). Then you have the Three Rivers Forest (Floresta Tres Rios) that you can access through Grajau-Jacarepagua road. On the main part of the Forest you have the tallest peek: Pico da Tijuca with 1022 meters height. There are plenty of hiking trails but in the main area especially you should do it with a guide. There are thiefs hiding sometimes behind the trees just waiting for you to pass by... The trails take most of the day to be done, so start early in the morning and take food and lots of water with you!! There's no hotdog stands or soda machines up there!! So remember that! And take a hat and insect repelent. It will surely help you!
You can also ride up there the easy way in a jeep. Make a websearch for Floresta da Tijuca Tours. Of course the jeep does not get as far as the top of the rocks, and if you don't do it you miss a lot!! You can also ride a bike up there. Some trails are just perfect for mountain bicking. Just make sure you don't go alone and keep all together.
Take a look at the links bellow for more information about the trails.
Tijuca National Park is the biggest urban natural park in the world. It's also the first huge reflorestation program carried on. By the middle of XIX century, the area was all occupied by coffee farms - we can see today some ruins of those farms. The Emperor Pedro II baught the farms and decided that the area would be all planted again, as a jungle; Major Archer was the responsable for the project. Nowadays, it's hard to believe that all that area was once a big coffee plantation.
In the park, you can find marvelous place for walking, relaxing; the Peak of Tijuca, above 1000 high (part of the journey can be done by car); nice restaurants and breath-taking views of the city.
A 60 square mile area which is the only forest in the world located inside a city. Set in the south side of Rio, it's most visible landmark is the Statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Hill. Enjoy the lush forest, waterfalls, exotic birds and wildlife (especially monkeys). Alto da Boavista is the core of the park where you can dine at restaurants and pick up a map. Other points of interest in the forest are the Mayrink Chapel, Açude da Solidão dam, Cascatinha and Gabriela and Taunay Falls. Vista Chinesa (Chinese Belvedere) offers a view all the way to Ipanema. Another favorite spot is Pedra Bonita where you will find hang gliders. Because the area is large and you can easily get lost, it is recommended you go by car or guided tour in jeeps. The roads are too steep and narrow for buses. A nice oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
Home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, many threatened by extinction, 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 Waterfall, the Mayrink Chapel, the Excelsior Lookout Point, the Paul and Virginia Grotto, Fairy Lake and, all favorite destinations for weekend family outings.
A ride in the Tijuca forest is a great experience by jeep. You will be giving a briefing and then a guide will trek with you explaining the history and the many kinds of life form that is found there.
**Beginning the process of arduous upload of photos. Please come back soon as time permits, I will be adding actual information to this tip**
I went through the rainforest on the way to the Christ statue but did not spend time there while in Rio. From the little I saw I thik it would be a great place to see.
FLORESTA DA TIJUCA( Tijuca´s Forest).
It is the biggest urban forest in the world. Before ecology became a worry to humanity, here, in Rio, a huge forest was replanted: tree by tree.