The Tijuca Forest

Atlantic Coastal Rain Forest in Rio de Janeiro

The Tijuca Forest (Floresta da Tijuca) is reputed to be the world's largest urban forest and is the last large section of Atlantic Coastal rain forest (Mata Atlantica) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This urban forest is responsible for creating much of the rain and fresh water for the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The Tijuca Forest is part of the 15 square mile Tijuca National Park (Parque Nacional da Tijuca) and is located in mountainous area behind the Tijuca, Lagoa and Gavea neighborhoods. It also includes Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer Statue and the Pedra Bonita Mountain.

In colonial times much of this rain forest was cut down to make way for coffee plantations. In the mid 19th century the forest was replanted to preserve and protect the city's water supply. In 1961 the area was declared a national park as to further protect and preserve this precious ecosystem and to create a recreational area for Rio's inhabitants.

Photo coutesy of Beth Castelo by Creative Common License

The Floresta da Tijuca is full of lush tropical plants and trees, numerous animal species, waterfalls (cachoeiras), caves, scenic vistas, hiking trails, and mountain peaks.

Notable sights include the Alto Boa Vista recreation area, Vista Chinesa (Chinese View), Cachoeira dos Macacos (Monkey’s Waterfall), Cascatinha de Taunay (Taunay’s Waterfall), Capela Mayrink (Mayrink Chapel), and the Mesa do Imperador (Emperor's Table).

You can also take a separate day tour to hike to the 1650 foot high Pedra Bonita and watch the hang gliders. Trek to the highest peak in the park, the 3300 foot high Pico da Tijuca.

The quickest and probably best way to see the park is by taking a half day guided tour by Jeep with a short hike. Gray Line is a reputable tour company that offers Floresta da Tijuca and other Rio de Janeiro tours.

Map of the Tijuca National Forest

View Tijuca Forest in a larger map

Return to Sightseeing page from Tijuca Forest page

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