Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, also referred to as the Heart of Rio de Janiero, is in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro. This location is a place of beauty and a must see for any water sports fan. You can spend a few hours or an entire day on the bank of the lake enjoying the sun and water while admiring the scenery of this historic location.
The lagoon is a massive salt water lake which was created by damming an opening to the Atlantic ocean caused by earth building up over many years. It is fed by a number of streams, the most noteworthy of which is Rio dos Macacos as this is the river which introduces the salt water.
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is a great destination for those who love the water but are not keen on the waves of the sea. You will see a lot of people rowing around the lake or walking, jogging and cycling along its banks. There is a rowing stadium in the lagoon and 7.2 kilometres of bike paths in the area. You can rent a wide range of sporting equipment to keep you entertained throughout the day. A number of kiosks provide food and drink or you can bring along your own picnic to enjoy.
The initial inhabitants of the area were the Tamois Indians. A grim bit of history took place when Portuguese frontier settler Dr. Antóonio Salema wanted to build a sugar cane plantation on the banks of the lagoon. He felt for this to happen he needed to get rid of the Indians so he could clear the way for his sugar mill and decided to kill them off by spreading clothing infected with small pox on the banks of the lagoon for them to wear. As a result the sugar cane plantation and the King's Mill were built on the west side of the lagoon where The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden Visitors' Reception Centre now operates. To the north of the lagoon is the mountain Morro do Corcovado which has the beautiful giant statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of Rio de Janeiro's iconic landmarks.
The lagoon had a serious problem with stagnated water until a city wide clean up operation in 1922. The solution was to dredge a canal to reconnect the lagoon to the sea and thus allow the water to flow through instead of stagnating. This canal is now known as the Canal do Jardim Alá and runs alongside a park, Jardim de Aláh. The creation of the canal caused the formation of two islands, Caiçara and Piraquê.
A visit to the lagoon at Christmas time is a must. Every year since 1996 a floating platform with a gigantic lit up and beautifully decorated Christmas tree, an impressive 85 metres in height and weighing 542 tons, floats around the lagoon. This alluring attraction is very popular and draws lots of visitors.
Facts For Your VisitFee: No
Many tourist attractions are temporarily closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please verify any opening hours below with the attraction before visiting.
Av. Epitácio Pessoa, s/n
Rio de Janeiro - RJ 22471-001
Daniel C. Jun-12-2016
For many the main postcard of Rio de Janeiro, ahead of any beach landscape, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, or only the lagoon, is a breathtaking scenery from... Read More
Tracey A. Jan-23-2016
It's not until you're drinking in the view from the top of Corcovado (aka Christ the Redeemer) that you take in just how large this lake actually is. From... Read More
Rachel W. Oct-30-2016
You have to go here. For a picnic, for a sunset, for the Christmas tree lighting, whatever. It's just a gorgeous spot to see and be seen. Read More
Accommodations near Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon:
|Metro and Metro Bus Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|Line 1 - Orange||Ipanema / General Osório||8 Minutes|
|Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 - Green||Botafogo||4 MInutes|
|Line 1 - Orange||Cantagalo||8 MInutes|
How to get to Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon by Metro and Metro Bus
For the southern portion of the lagoon purchase a Metro na Superficie farecard and take the Metro to Ipanema / General Osório Station and transfer to the blue 'Metro na Superficie Bus' and ride it to the first stop at Anibal de Mendonca Station. Exit the bus and walk straight ahead to the next corner and go right (north) on Avenue Henrique Dumont and continue to the Lagoon (8 Minutes).
For the northern portion of the lagoon purhase a Metro na Superficie farecard take the Metro to Botafogo Station and transfer to the blue 'Metro na Superficie Bus' and ride it to the Jardim Botanico stop. Exit the bus, cross the road and head down Rua Maria Angelica to the Lagoon (4 Minutes).
You can also walk to the lagoon without using the Surface Bus from Cantagalo Station, but it does require either a longer walk or crossing a busy two lane road without a crosswalk. For this option exit Cantagalo Station and go right along Rua Miguel Lemos, cross over at the crosswalk and continue walking west along the right hand side of Avenue Henrique Dodsworth. Cut to your right across the little park just before the overpass and follow the sidewalk north along Avenue Epitacio Pessoa to the pedestrian overpass just past the row of high-rise apartments (17 Minutes). If traffic is light you can save some time by crossing the roadways directly over to the lagoon rather that walking all the way to the pedestrian overpass, but there are no crosswalks so be very careful if you choose this option (8 minutes).
There are many city buses that run around the perimeter of the Lagoon, but they are not included in the Metro fare and require an additional cash fare if you wish to ride them.
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