Botafogo is an upper middle class neighborhood that is surrounded by the mounds of Mundo Novo, Dona Marta and the hills Morro de São João, which also borders the famous Copacabana.
Its name is derived from Joao Pereira de Sousa Botafogo, the Portugues weapon-maker who owned, during colonial times, the land where it stands now. From its beachfront, you can have a good view of the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Blend between the old and new
Despite its countless condominiums and the apparent contemporary appearance, Botafogo is rich in culture and history. Take for instance the 'Museu do Indio,' with its 19th century architecture, which puts on exhibit the various artifacts of Brazil’s tribal groups.
You can see on display the varied costumes, hunting tools, utensils, household equipment and even musical contraptions. There are also documents and books that describe what it was like to live during the ancient times. You can find another heritage site here, the Villa Lobos Museum. It’s that distinct European-style building in Soracaba that can trace its beginnings in 1961 when it was ordered built by the wife of composer Heitor Villa Lobos.
In here you can find books, documents, photos, letters and sheets of music owned by the musician. Another museum dedicated to a great Brazilian is the 'Rui Barbosa.'
The building, featuring a neo-classical design, dates back to 1849. But Rui Barbosa, the legal expert, politician and one-time journalist called this his home before passing away in 1923.
Perfect for family trips
The beach of Botafogo is part of Guanabara Bay, protected from the Atlantic by Sugarloaf Mountain and Urca peninsula.
It’s perfect for bringing along the kids for walking or cycling on the track built exactly for that. The beach unfortunately is not suitable for swimming due to pollution, but it is still an unmissable walk because of the privileged and amazing view of the Sugar Loaf.
Aside from the picturesque view, there are also cinemas, theatres, bistros, cafes, restaurants, malls and retail shops so there’s always something to do.
A panoramic view
Take a cab for Mirante do Pasmado point for panoramic picture of Botafogo. The best time to hike is at the crack of dawn, when the first rays of the sun sweep over Rio, and at sundown and see the buildings light up.
Nobody leaves the area without going to Pasmado. It’s sort of tradition.
Spending Carnival in Botafogo
The neighborhood has its own street band called ‘Barbas,’ which literally means beard.
It is named after the wordsmith ‘Nelson Rodrigues Filho.’ Botafogo hosts its own parade on Carnival Saturday beginning at 'Rua Arnaldo Quintela.'
Be prepared to get wet, however, a water truck soaks revelers as they march on the streets.