Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Updated on Dec.8, 2012
One of Rio de Janeiro's best-known landmarks, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, looks particularly beautiful seen from Corcovado. There's the Sugarloaf in the distant background, Leme and Copacabana in one great curve to the right of Sugar Loaf, and Ipanema to the right, separated from Copacabana by Arpoador, projecting into the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. In the forefront, you see the Jockey Club.
Parque Tom Jobim, a group of three parks around Lagoa, is a leisure area with a roller skate rink (Parque dos Patins), playgrounds, a sculpture garden, workout stations and sports courts. The food kyosks around Lagoa are a popular choice for casual dining in Rio.
Lagoa is a fragile ecosystem, and city growth hasn't helped it. A sum of unfavorable conditions - the fact that it's linked to the ocean by a narrow canal, making renewal of water difficult; illegal sewage dumping; and the excessive growth of algae - have caused fish to die in catastrophic numbers in the past.
Lagoa Limpa (Clean Lagoon), an environmental project initiated by Eike Batista's EBX in a partnership with public institutions, was launched in 2008 and contributed to the regeneration of the lagoon.
Rowing, Soccer & Carnival:
The history of soccer in Rio de Janeiro has its origin in rowing clubs. Two of Brazil's most popular soccer clubs - Flamengo and Botafogo - have rowing headquarters on Lagoa's shores. Flamengo actually has its main headquarters at Lagoa. But when the team plays in Rio, their venue is Maracanã, the city stadium.
For more information about rowing on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, contact Frerj, the Rio de Janeiro State Rowing Federation.
Lagoa is also home to private clubs such as Monte Líbano, famous for its Carnival balls for adults and for children.
A private initiative that helped revitalize Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas was the creation of kiosks with restaurants and snack bars around the lagoon.
Palaphita Kitch has won awards as the best outdoor lounge in Rio. It recreates an Amazon atmosphere on the banks of the lagoon near Corte do Cantagalo, between Ipanema e Copacabana. It hosts a big New Year's Eve party.
Another great kiosk is Kantha Galo, all made up of recycled materials, with sustainable practices and serving a menu that blends Brazilian and international foods. Gôndola Café, Café del Lago and Mediterrâneo serve Italian food; there's Sushinaka, serving Japanese combos; you can listen to live Brazilian music and eat Middle Eastern food at the Lagoa branch of Arab.
A place worth making time for when traveling in Rio is Bar Lagoa, on Epitácio Pessoa, one of the avenues that border the lagoon.
The art-déco bar and restaurant with interiors in Carrara marble was built in 1934, when Ipanema was still an isolated fisherman's beach. The building is a Rio de Janeiro Cultural Heritage Site.
Eva Klabin Foundation:
The Eva Klabin Foundation, also on Epitácio Pessoa Avenue, is one of the best places in Rio for art lovers. Eva Klabin (1903-1991) started collecting art while still in her teens and traveled the world in search of items for her impressive collection.
Lagoa Christmas Tree:
Only Carnival and Réveillon are greater seasonal attractions in Rio than the floating Christmas tree at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. More than 3 million lights adorn the impressive structure, which has scored Guinness World Records as the largest floating Christmas tree in the world.
Water ballet, fireworks, music shows, and light choreographies add to the beauty of the 27- story high Christmas tree, which draws thousands of tourists every year. It's usually up by late November or early December, and always taken down on January 6. Read about the 2012 Christmas tree.
See a panorama of the 2009 Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas Christmas tree, one of the top images in Rio 360 by Ayrton Camargo.