The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful and well preserved green areas in the Marvellous City and an invitation to contemplate thousands of Brazilian and international plant species.
Located in a prime spot in the neighbourhood of the same name, in the South Zone of the city, the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro – or simply Botanical Garden – has enormous historical, archaeological and scientific importance, not only for the city, but for the whole world.
At the same time, its huge green area is one of the most relevant leisure spaces for the population of Rio and visitors in general.
What to expect from your visit to the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro?
Whether you are someone deeply interested in Botany or a simple observer who appreciates beauty, you will certainly be delighted and take a lot of incredible photos!
After all, the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro brings together stunning scenarios, worthy of a movie!
As it is a very large property, it is all segmented in multiple “alleyways”, instead of streets, and almost all paths are lined with trees.
In addition, there are four lakes, six themed gardens, numerous greenhouses and a couple of coffee houses spread throughout the immense complex. In short: it is a tourist spot that will take at least one chunk of your day.
So, literally, take your time to smell the flowers and appreciate your surroundings, as the Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful postcard settings in Rio de Janeiro.
It is also possible that just one visit won’t be enough to enjoy all it has to offer. After all, this type of attraction inspires you to take a more relaxed, contemplative and slow-paced tour.
So I strongly suggest you prioritize the sectors that interest you the most, as it ends up being a little tiresome to walk around the whole area in its entirety .
The installations of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
The Botanical Garden is divided into several sectors:
- Visitor’s Center
- AABB store (Botanical Garden Friends Association)
- House of Pylons
- Cactus Garden
- Mestre Valentim’s greenhouse (ferns)
- Mestre Valentim’s studio
- Garden Café
As it is impossible to detail all the spaces of the Botanical Garden in a single post, I will try to summarize those that I consider to be the most relevant when you visit it for the first time.
The arboretum is composed of more than nine thousand plant species, distributed in Brazilian and other ecosystems.
It is located in an area of 54 hectares of Atlantic Forest, subdivided into 197 flowerbeds, 4 artificial lakes and greenhouses that include a nursery, a bromeliad and a cactus garden.
Furthermore, it consists of six thematic gardens:
- Rose Garden
The Orchid house
Set in a greenhouse built in the late 19th century, the nursery of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro houses more than 7,300 specimens (data from 2020), most of which are composed of native species.
In fact, this greenhouse is the icon of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.
The cactus collection started in 1912. Currently, about 400 species of cacti form the collection, distributed in five greenhouses, themed flower beds and pergolas.
The collection of bromeliads in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is immense and centuries old. About fifteen thousand bromeliads are distributed in two large greenhouses and in the arboretum flower beds.
In addition, the main greenhouse, inaugurated in 1975, pays homage to the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
In fact, the artist’s property, located in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro, is another unmissable tourist spot for landscaping lovers. And you can check out all the tips to visit him in another blog post.
Visitor’s Center of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
Located at the main entrance of the Botanical Garden, the Visitors Center is an attraction in itself and you may want to spend some time there before even starting your exploration through the gigantic garden.
It houses the Environment Museum as well as an interactive exhibition that tells the story of the Botanical Garden. The souvenir shop is also there.
The AAJB (Association of Friends of the Botanical Garden) store is located in a colonial house (the oldest residence in Rio de Janeiro) and gathers books, handicrafts and souvenirs from Rio.
The handicraft items for sale are also sustainable as they’re made from reused materials!
Located in the ruins of the old gunpowder factory, it is the perfect spot for children up to 10 years old with some nice playground wooden equipment.
There is also a small adjacent snack bar with nice coffee and drinks for refreshment.
Structure and Functioning of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is open every day of the year, except for December 25th and January 1st.
However, the hours may vary: on Mondays, it is open from noon to 17:00. From Tuesday to Saturday, the opening hours are from 08:00 to 17:00.
For updated information, check the official website or contact the Visitors Center by calling (21) 3874-1808 or (21) 3874-1214.
Tickets (cash only)
As it is a research institute (and not a public park), access to the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is paid and discounts and gratuities are those applied by law.
- Foreign visitors: R$ 60,00
- Foreign visitors from Mercosur: R$ 45,00
- Visitors living in Brazil: R$ 24,00
- Visitors from the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro: R$ 15,00
- Adults over 60 years old
- Disabled people
- Students enrolled in official Brazilian educational institutions.
Free of charge
- Children up to 5 years old
Access to the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
Rua Jardim Botânico, 1008 (vehicle access in special cases *)
Rua Jardim Botânico, 920 – pedestrians only (temporarily closed **)
Rua Pacheco Leão, 101 – pedestrians only (temporarily closed **)
Rua Pacheco Leão, 915 – pedestrians only (temporarily closed **)
* The main entrance of the Botanical Garden offers bike racks and exclusive parking for people with severe mobility disabilities (four vacancies).
* The entry of cars for boarding and disembarking people with limited mobility (disabled, elderly or pregnant women) is also allowed.
** Accesses are temporarily closed due to restrictive measures to contain the transmission of Coronavirus.
The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro does not have parking for visitors. However, at Praça Santos Dumont, there is a rotating parking system, offered by the City Hall.
It is important to note that places are limited and it is necessary to purchase the ticket on site from an accredited seller.
Therefore, the best alternative if you go by car is to park at the Jockey Club, which is located at Praça Santos Dumont, very close to the main entrance of the Botanical Garden.
In fact, visitors to the Botanical Garden have a discount. – just ask for the parking stamp at the ticket office and present it with the ticket when paying for parking.
The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro offers some thematic visits, which are self-guided.
They are interpretative trails with routes that cover many different themes, such as the architectural and artistic monuments scattered around the gardens or the most special trees of the collection, for example.
In order to best explore them, you can use one of the brochures available at the Visitor’s Center or you can download and print one of the itineraries available in PDF on the Botanical Garden website.
You can also download the Botanical Garden app, available for iOS and Android on your smartphone and follow the recommended trails.
Tips for an incredible experience at the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
Well, despite all the suggestions, the best way to explore the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is to set your own pace, according to your taste. After all, a place like that leads to an intuitive experience.
The most important thing is that you enjoy the moment, while walking through lush surroundings, and exploring all the senses its charming gardens provide.
However, it’s crucial to point out that you will be in an environment of the Atlantic Forest, with a rich fauna and flora composing every inch of the attraction. So, of course, it is ideal to apply repellent and wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Also, don’t forget to be mindful of the sun, which in Rio de Janeiro is usually extreme. So, sunscreen, sunglasses and a cap or hat will be great adventure companions!
Plus, get ready to fall in love with one of the most beautiful picture postcards in the Marvellous City.