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Brazil Travel Guide - Home

Exploring the fascinating side of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photo Rio de Janeiro by sama093 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 
Rio de Janeiro has been in the spotlight recently after hosting the Rio 2016 Olympics, but the city has been a popular destination for visitors worldwide for some time. This colourful mix of colonial and modern architecture provides endless fascination, gorgeous beaches, mountain landscapes and stunning sculpture – the perfect destination for the avid travel photographer.

While many visitors head to Copacabana and the pleasures of Ipanema, it is worthwhile to take a step into the back streets of the city to see evidence of Rio’s colonial past.

Largo do Boticário, Cosme Velho

Hidden behind Corcovado mountain in the Cosme Velho neighbourhood is a colourful and fascinating square. Largo do Boticário (which roughly translates to the Square of the Apothecary) was originally a farm, and eventually became an apothecary producing a variety of ointments and medicines for Brazil’s royal family. However, the square eventually fell into disrepair, until it was rescued by a local journalist, Sylvia de Arruda Botelho Bittencourt. One of the houses in the square was originally owned by the family and they gradually restored the plaza to almost its original glory.
Largo do Boticario, Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Largo do Boticário by Los viajes del Cangrejo / CC BY 2.0

While still rather “shabby-chic”, the brightly coloured houses are typical of Portuguese colonial architecture back in the late 18th century, and the square is backed by green and verdant hills – a perfect place to relax when exploring the wonders of Rio de Janeiro. The area is home to many friendly art dealers and painters, who often allow visitors to explore their homes.

Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro

Parque Lage walking trails, Rio de Janeiro
Photo Rio de Janeiro by Ana Carina Lauriano / CC BY 2.0 
Rio de Janeiro has many parks and green spaces, perfect for a rest while exploring the city, but some are a little more out of the way than others. Parque Lage is one of these hidden places – a public park located in the Jardim Botanico neighbourhood of the city, nestled at the foot of the Corcovado mountain.

According to Atlas Obscura, where the park now stands was once owned by an industrialist. The mansion on what is now a public park was remodeled back in the 1920s and in the 1960s, the property was opened as a public park and the city established walking trails in the area, heading up into the lush, green forests of Tijuca National Park. 

While exploring the park, monkeys can be seen in the trees and on the grounds themselves there is a mysterious cave to explore, as well as an old tower and an aquarium.

Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Parque Lage by Pedro Botton / CC BY 2.0 
As for the original mansion (pictured above right), the building now houses an art school, where visitors can view the students’ work and relax in the courtyard café on site.

While still an out-of-the-way and quiet place to visit, the park is indirectly famous, as it was used as a set for various music videos by the Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg and Pharell Williams.

Take time out on your next visit to Rio de Janeiro and head to these less-traveled areas to enjoy a little time out from the busy streets of the city.


Brazil Travel Guide - Home