We absolutely loved the botanical gardens and it was a real highlight of our trip to Rio. We visited on a Monday and it was positively serene but I believe it can be very different at the weekend. We saw a lot of monkeys in the Atlantic rainforest section and spent ages just watching them quietly and taking photos - bliss.
The formal gardens are stunning and the Orchid house pristine. We ate lunch at the cafe and the food was very good.
If you take the time to visit here it is also worth going to the nearby and rarely visited Parque Lage , we did both on the same morning and didn't have a garden overload. The local bus runs between the two and was very easy.
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