the botanical gardens are really something. after being stuck in horrendous traffic with inpatient (noisy) drivers on the way there, i was really hoping that upon entry, i could escape from the noise pollution for a few hours and really relax. fortunately, once you walked back in a bit, the honking and exhaust smell from the roads nearby disappeared and were replaced with the sounds of birds and fresh air. few cities in the world boast such a dramatic oasis, where you can go from the beach, to concrete jungle to tropical rain forest within minutes.
the gardens are much larger than i imagined, and subsequently i wound up spending way more time than i thought. wear comfortable shoes, since you'll most likely be doing a lot of walking. besides escaping the craziness of the city and connecting with nature, the highlight for me was seeing toucans and marmosets - so amazing!
i highly recommend a visit to the botanical gardens while in rio. if i lived in the area, i would have an annual pass!
note that on mondays, at least during our visit, that the gardens only open at noon. we were not aware of this and had to wait a bit before entry. luckily, there is a supermarket and coffee shop just up the street and it was a good way to pass the time.
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