By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Perfectly located between Ipanema, Leblon and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas with Gavea to the east, the neighborhood of Jardim Botanico lies quiet and undisturbed. The district, whose name derives from the renowned Botanical Garden is home to a predominantly middle to upper class residency, that enjoys being tucked away.
The area is home to the Rede Globo TV Network and many celebrity employees are among the homeowners who are no doubt equally charmed by the picturesque colonial style houses and the tantalizing array of restaurants and cafes as much as anyone else.
Those looking to wine, dine and romance should pay a visit to Quadrifoglio, a popular Italian restaurant on Rua J. J. Seabra. Reopened in late 2010, the menu may have undergone an extensive revamp but many signature dishes have remained along with its continuing good quality and affordability.
The area’s main attraction is naturally the Botanical Gardens, spanning 350 acres and displaying over 6,000 species of plant life and trees. Nestled amongst them are a number of sculptures, architecture and fountains, some of which date back to the early sixteenth Century.
This beloved park provides the residents of Jardim Botanico with a perfect rural retreat away from the crowds. Ensconced in a haven of colorful tranquility, visitors are able to relax whilst the rest of the city rushes by unnoticed. The park, which was founded by Dom João VI in 1808, is so popular that it has been proclaimed one of the top ten Botanical gardens in the world.
Its notable features being the Japanese Garden showcasing a number of species typical of Japan, the Orchid house breeding an assortment of identifiably different orchids and the royal palms which grandly line the entrance avenue. The garden also functions as a cultivation project that strives to protect and nurture many of Brazil’s rapidly declining species of flora and fauna.
In addition to this fantastic site, the region has still more to offer by way of nature parks such as the Parque Lage, an extension of the Tijuca national forest. The land was once owned by wealthy industrialist Enrique Lage who lived there with his wife in a large Italian style mansion that later became open to the public in 1960.
As well as a number of interesting walking trails that lead through the forest the park is home to the visual arts school and boasts a lively restaurant renowned for its delicious Sunday brunch set in the beautiful atrium of the Lage mansion.
Jardim Botanico is one of the few neighborhoods in Rio that has not succumbed to the dense mass of high-rise blocks, featuring instead a hearty supply of stucco white washed houses that set it firmly apart from Ipanema, Copacabana and Lagoa where such property is few and far between.
Unfortunately, due the short supply of houses elsewhere, properties of this kind are expensive and rarely come available. Furthermore, property prices have increased in the last year or so and can range from between R$600,000 for a modest two bedroom apartment to R$1.2 million for a luxury two bedroom plus pool. Those looking to rent will find a two bedroom apartment costing approximately R$2,200-4,200 per month depending on the location and quality of the views.
Aside from the prices, the only real downside of the area is the scarcity of local amenities, meaning residents may have to travel a little further to go to the bank or supermarket. Nevertheless, those looking for a bit of peace and quiet in a city that rarely sleeps will certainly be rewarded with just that in Jardim Botanico.