Rio - the name itself conjures up images of colorful carnival dancers and 'chica chica boom' rhythmic music. But Rio isn't all about the dazzling nightlife, beach bodies or the famous 'Christ the Redeemer' landmark. You may be surprised to learn that Rio de Janeiro has secret "wildside" near the heart of the city.
Teeming with wondrous wildlife, the Tijuca National Park is 3200 hectares of lush-green jungle enveloping the city of Rio. The replanting of the forest was instigated by Emperor Dom Pedro II, who saw the need to counteract deforestation surrounding Rio. As a result of ten years replanting, the rainforest is now world's largest urban forest and home to thousands of different wildlife species including insects, birds, mammals and reptiles.
Sugar and coffee plantations were the reason so much of the original forest was decimated and there are still some ruins to be found covered in green most within the forest. These can be easily accessed with the well-marked trails and paths that lead to the main attractions. These attractions include some of the many beautiful waterfalls and fascinating caves. There is a hike for every fitness level!
Explore the relationship between the 'urban' jungle and the 'wild' jungle as close encounters happen everyday on the wild border, where the city meets the jungle. Imagine having monkey neighbors join you for breakfast on your tenth floor apartment building, swinging from the magical forest, through a forgotten open window and snatching a tasty banana for their reward!
Wildlife overflows into Rio's urban jungle and dramas unfold as urban citizens and wild forest inhabitants come in contact with each other. It's a fascinating insight into life in the favelas - the sprawling vibrant communities home to thousands of people, with narrow passageways and breathtaking views of mountains and the ocean.
Watch as the color of the rainforest inspires the building of a float featuring in Rio's internationally broadcasted carnival. Here the clever artists and sculptors use the jungle's vivacious palette as inspiration for their art. Color, sound and life is what the jungle and Rio is all about - a reminder that the spirit of the wild runs through the citizens of Rio.
Listen to the night-song of the forest frogs and be hypnotized by careening blue manakin dancer birds. Fishing bats seek dinner in the lagoon after dark, fluffy-eared marmosets swipe at flying insects, hard-working ants are marching with intent, sleepy sloths slowly climb their way to a comfortable resting spot and nesting toucans keep watchful for intruders; there is never a boring moment in the wild!