The Tijuca Forest is home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, many threatened by extinction, found only in the Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlântica in Portuguese). After all the original forest had been destroyed to make way for coffee farms, Tijuca was replanted by Major Manuel Gomes Archer in the second half of the 19th century in a successful effort to protect Rio's water supply.
One favela named Mata Machado exists in the Tijuca Forest. Its inhabitants are mainly the descendants of those who migrated to the region in the 1930s to take part in the replanting effort. Though conditions have improved recently under theFavela-Bairro Project, Mata Machado still contributes to environmental degradation in the forest.In 1961, Tijuca Forest was declared a National Park. The Forest contains a number of attractions, most notably the colossal sculpture of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado. Other attractions include the Cascatinha Waterfall; the Mayrink Chapel, with murals painted by Cândido Portinari; Vista Chinesa; and the giant granite picnic table called the Mesa do Imperador. Among its impressive peaks is the Pedra da Gávea.
Piece at the park entrance your free map