Rio's Jardim Botanico showcases the diversity of Brazil's flora (©Valter Cunha/iStock editorial/Thinkstock)
The gardens were founded in 1808 by the king, Dom Joao VI, as a nursery for European plants and new specimens from throughout the world. Today the extensive 137-hectare gardens are home to 9,000 rare vascular plants and 140 species of birds, with 40m-high royal palms and giant Amazonian Victoria regia lilies covering the ponds. Open daily 8am-5pm. Adults R$6, under 7 free.