A lake, a neighborhood, a park, a leisure area, a
postcard... Lagoa is all this and more. It is the heart of Rio's
affluent South Side, surrounded by favorite neighborhoods like Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea,
and Jardim Botânico.
Going for a drive around Lagoa is almost mandatory. Spending an
afternoon here is enough to make you fall in love with it... Lagoa
concentrates a number of country clubs, bars, restaurants,
nightclubs, gyms, the Jockey Club, Botanical Gardens, and the
headquarters of soccer team Flamengo.
Lagoa was recently refurbished and new open parks were created.
Free sports courts, bicycle and jogger's lanes, a number of
playgrounds for children, and gourmet food kiosks complete the
pretty picture. Jogging, cycling, horseback riding, roller-skating,
volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, nautical sports, the
possibilities are virtually endless.
The lake was originally called by Native Brazilians Sacopenapã,
meaning "way of the socó birds". Its history
dates back to the XVI century, when it was surrounded by a large
sugarcane farm named Engenho d'El Rei. It was later purchased by
Rodrigo de Freitas in the XVII century.
In 1808 Emperor Dom João XVI claimed the area to install the
Royal Gunpowder Factory (see history).
Eventually it was divided into smaller properties. The area only
started to grow faster with the arrival of streetcars, in the late
XIX century. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas was recently declared a
national landmark by the Historical Patrimony.
The lane around Lagoa is 7.5 km (4.6 mi.) long. The lake has a
maximum depth of no more than 4.3 m. The city is trying to bring
back the swamp wildlife to the borders of Lagoa, and results are
starting to show. The water is still not suitable for swimming but
there are plenty of fish, and birds like the graceful egret have
already become part of the scene. The lake is linked to the Atlantic
Ocean by the Allah's Gardens Canal. The two islands in Lagoa are
used as private country clubs (Caiçaras and Piraquê).
Rebouças Tunnel connects Lagoa to Downtown and the International
Airport. São Conrado and Barra can be reached using Lagoa-Barra
freeway. Lagoa is also an alternative if you are going from Ipanema
to Botafogo or Downtown. Traffic is thus quite intense at rush hours.
All gas stations around Lagoa have 24 hour convenience stores. Here
are some spots in Lagoa that are definitely worth checking. For more
photos and tips try also Pictours
This scenic park around Lagoa was inaugurated in 1979. The first open-air sculpture garden in Brazil has an area of about 30,000 square meters on Morro dos Cabritos. Go for a leisure stroll among pieces by artists like Sérgio Camargo, Franz Weissman and Antonio Manuel. The park has already been used for jam sessions. Part of the Cantagalo complex.
This big park is right across from Parque da Catacumba. Take the overpass to cross the two lanes, and do not miss the charming igloo-shaped gas station in the isle. Tennis, basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer courts, two workout stations, and four playgrounds for children are among the attractions. You can rent a bicycle or pedal boat. The latest addition is a number of gourmet kiosks. Stop for a bite, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the scenery. Cariocas love to spend their afternoons here.
This is the largest park around Lagoa. It was built in the spot where the old Tivoli Park used to be, across from the Jockey Club. There is a large roller skate rink, and playground for children. Gourmet food kiosks offer delicious snacks and refreshments. You can rent a bicycle, pedal boat, and even go for a helicopter ride! There is a large parking area for cars and buses. Not far from Club Piraquê.
This park across from AABB and Monte Líbano Clubs is a smaller version of the others, with sports courts, playground for children and gourmet food kiosks. The main attraction is the skate bowl, popular with skaters from all over town. It is a 15-minute walk from Ipanema. Take a street crossing the beach like Aníbal de Mendonça or Maria Quitéria and go all the way down to Lagoa. Cross both lanes, and take a left turn (towards Caiçaras Club). Use the gas station between the two lanes for reference.
These are private clubs located around the Lagoa. Members have access to all facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, sport courts, sauna, steam room, sometimes rowing and boating, etc. Horses are the major attraction at the latter two. Flamengo is also the headquarters of Rio's most popular soccer team. Some clubs also offer activities to non-members, but usually you have to be sponsored or something. This concentration of clubs and parks helped preserve Lagoa as a major leisure area in the city.
This mansion was home to Ms. Klabin, and features an eclectic art collection. It is open to visits since 1990. The house was preserved, and you still have a sense of a home inside. The pieces include period French furniture, Ming and T'ang sculptures, paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists, and even an Egyptian cat sarcophagus.
Bar Lagoa is a Carioca institution, with a tradition of 65 years and a legion of devoted fans. It is in a landmark art deco building of 1934. Marble walls and antique lamps add to the charm. This family-owned restaurant and bar features hearty portions of delicious food with a German twist. Try the Kassler with Sauerkraut or the perfect steak with French fries. The draft beer was recently elected among the 10 best in the city. The patio tables overlooking Lagoa are particularly attractive.
This mammoth gym and spa was built in the spot where the old Drive-In Theater used to be. If you choose to spend a whole day there you will not run out of activities to do. Owned by Ricardo Amaral (Hippopotamus) this spot also features a theater (Teatro da Lagoa), a famous restaurant (Gattopardo) and nightclub Trash (formerly Papagayo)