The Imperial Palm-lined home to rich plantlife and stunning scenery
Rio's Botanical Gardens are another jewel in the crown of a city blessed with more than its fair share of flora and fauna. Originally a royal plant nursery laid out according to the whims of Prince Dom João VI, it remains a testament to his original vision, combining romantic leafy paths and shady nooks with over 8,000 species of plants and over 5,500 types of tree from all over the world.
The towering imperial palms may be the gardens' trademark, but an orchid house, bromelia and cactus gardens, turtle ponds and birdlife all battle for your attentions too, not least the monkeys and toucans waiting to be espied by the eagle-eyed.
Undergoing restoration at the end of 2011, the main house will reopen as a permanent Museu do Meio Ambiente (Environment Museum) dedicated to the science, culture and education of environmental concerns and protection in 2012.
The Espaço Cultural Tom Jobim regularly plays host to a variety of plays and events, whilst the weekly Cineclube do Jardim shows national and international films with debates and seminars chaired by the film-maker Walter Lima Júnior, the man behind Brazil Year 2000, the 1969 film about a devastated post-war Brazil.
Finally there are two cafés for a basic refuelling, and a well-stocked gift shop selling a wealth of seeds and books to encourage visitors to go home and create their own mini-paradise. All in all a wonderful way to escape the heat of the city.