Tales of the Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro
Why is Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil called Sugarloaf Mountain? Some believe that the mountain got its name because of its resemblance to the conical “head” of sugar, which was the most popular way to pack sugar in the world at the time.
Once in Rio, you don’t have to travel far for nature. In the heart of the city is the huge Tijuca National Park. In the language of the Tupi tribes, who inhabited the Brazilian coast before the arrival of the Portuguese, the name “Tijuca” translates as “marshland.
It is the largest forested area on the planet, located within the city limits, its area is more than 32 square kilometers. The main symbols of Brazil are located in the park: the Corcovado Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
A little about the history of the Tijuca forest
The Tijuca forest looks like the real thing. But it is known that it is completely, from scratch, recreated by human hands. It really used to be a virgin forest, until these areas were used as plantations for the cultivation of cocoa beans and sugar cane. Because of fresh water problems and soil erosion resulting from the gross encroachment of nature, the land was re-vegetated by order of the mayor. During the ten years of work, about a hundred Atlantic forest trees were planted. In all the years that followed, the Tijuca forest in Rio de Janeiro grew strongly by itself. It became dense to the point where it developed its own microclimate with a reduced temperature inside.
The forest was planted by order of the Brazilian ruler Pedro II. Several dozen slaves were engaged in this business at the time. And in 1961 the Tijuca forest in Rio de Janeiro was declared a national park.
The main attractions of the Tijuca Park
The already mentioned Corcovado Mountain is a massif reaching 710 meters in height. It is the best vantage point from which you can see the city like the palm of your hand. The slope to the south is riddled with climbing routes.
Almost as soon as you enter the park, you will encounter a large waterfall, the Tonne Falls. In total, the Tijuca forest is decorated with about 30 natural waterfalls, including the famous Cascatina waterfall.
It is worth visiting the small Mayrinc Chapel with its beautiful paintings, to take a breath in the pagoda gazebo in Vista Chinechea, to admire the old bridge of Alcantara. Within the Tijuca Forest is also the cliff of Pedra da G‡vea, which falls directly into the ocean. All this awaits the visitor, not to mention the numerous benches, fountains and decorations placed for your comfort.
The park has about 150 hiking trails and many bridges and viewing platforms so that everyone who comes can admire the rich flora and fauna. There are signs everywhere, and the trails are marked, so don’t be afraid to get lost.
How to get to Tijuca Park in Rio?
Admission to the park is free. The Tijuca Forest welcomes its guests every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in the summer until 6 p.m. There are restaurants and cafes with delicious food and, most importantly, panoramic views of Tijuca Park. The restaurant Os Esquilos, for example, occupies, no less than a former baronial house.
Prefer to travel in your own vehicle? There is a parking lot about 2 kilometers from the Tijuca forest. You can ride a bicycle not only to the reserve itself, but also to some routes inside the park area. Some tour companies will also offer you a helicopter ride. Why not?
Without a bike or car, you can get to the park by public transportation on buses 301, 333, 308, 309, 345.
Tijuca – Rio de Janeiro’s natural treasure
Parque Nacional da Tijuca is the largest forest located within the city limits. The park covers 32 km 2 and is located in Rio de Janeiro.
The Tijuca forests are among the few that have survived the active creation of coffee plantations in Brazil. This park is the smallest in the country, but the most famous and most visited, because it contains the main attractions that have become symbols of Brazil.
Tijuca Park Attractions
- Corcovado is a mountain 710 meters high, which can be seen from any corner of Rio de Janeiro. It can be climbed by 223 steps, a cable car or an elevator. The mountain offers stunning panoramas. The southern slope is dotted with climbing routes. But Corcovado is best known for the statue of Christ located at its summit.
- The statue of Christ the Redeemer sits atop Mount Corcovado and is one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, visited by about a million tourists each year. The statue is a symbol of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. The 38-meter-high Christ the Redeemer is one of the world’s most famous obelisks.
- Waterfalls. There are several beautiful waterfalls in Tijuca – the Tonne Falls at the central entrance of the Tijuca Forest and the Cascatinha Falls.
- The park has more than 150 trails that take visitors through stunning scenic areas – tourists can experience Brazil’s rich and generous nature, elevations, lookouts, ancient chapels, and bridges. The park is home to a large number of birds, animals, and rare plants.
There are many restaurants in the park, which are picturesquely located on the observation decks. So you can simultaneously enjoy the vivid taste of Brazilian food, wine and a gorgeous panorama.
Tijuca’s location in the center of Rio de Janeiro makes it a very good mix of wildlife and all the benefits of civilization. Right by the park there are many hotels, hostels and stores where tourists buy memorable souvenirs.
- The Tijuca Forest (Floresta da Tijuca) is open to the public every day from 08.00 to 17.00 and until 18.00 in the summer.
- The Serra da Carioca can be visited daily from 08.00 to 18.00, in summer time is increased by 1 hour and closes at 19.00.
- Pedra Bonita / Pedra da G? vea are open seven days a week from 08.00 to 17.00, until 18.00 in summer.
– Serra da Covanca / Pretos Forros is currently under restoration, so this area is closed to the public.
How to get there
Tijuca Park consists of four sectors, each of which is easily accessible in several ways. It is most convenient to travel by car if Tijuca Park is far from your hotel, plus there is a parking lot not far from Tijuca. By bicycle you can ride through the territory of the reserve itself and enjoy the surrounding nature. In addition, tour companies offer helicopter rides over the park.
- The Tijuca forest can be reached by bus numbers 301, 333, 308, 309 and 345. In a private car you will need to stop 2 km before entering the reserve to park.
- To Serra de Carioca you can take buses 583,584, 569 and 570 part of the way, get off at the Cosme Velho stop and take a cab the rest of the way. There are two metro lines (L1 and L2) passing near this area, you can get off at the most convenient station and continue by cab, bicycle or foot. The maximum walk will take you about 20 minutes. Mount Corcovado is accessible by tourist train.
- Take bus number 448 to Pedra Bonita or Pedra da G?
Address: Estrada da Cascatinha, 850 – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20531-590, Brazil