Following last weeks post on hiking in Parque Nacional da Tijuca, this Sunday we decided take a little passeio to Vista Chinesa (number 7 on the park map), located in the Jardim Botanico side of the park. It can be accessed by taking the 409 bus, and getting off at the last stop. There is then a 4km walk along a paved road that leads to the vista, so called because of the faux-Chinese pagoda located at the lookout. We were able to take a combi-van uphill, which saved us a little time. The view from the Pagoda is of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Leblon, with a side-view of Corcovado on the left and the Rocinha favela on the right. Unfortunately, there was quite a lot of cloud today, so our view wasn’t great.
Despite the lack of a vista, the lookout was busy, mostly with people who had driven up in their cars. A well-fed monkey was on hand, doing a brisk-trade in fruit hand outs, in exchange for a rolling photo-shoot. Despite the sign informing visitors that the animals shouldn’t be fed, the police officers seemed to be quite content for the monkey to earn his lunch. They just warned that the monkeys should only be given fruit, as some of the less considerate visitors were known to give them Cheetos, sweets and inexplicably, lighters.
The paved road was also busy with cyclists, who were able to complete a circular route from the Alta da Boa Vista side of the park. There were also several downhill skate-boarders, and a couple of guys using drifter trikes. The boarders were hitching lifts up the hill to Mesa Imperador, by hanging on the outside of the cars of willing motorists. After an hour or so, we had seen all there was to see, and decided to walk back down. It is worth mentioning that Horto, the bairro at the bottom of the park, is really pleasant, and has a few good restaurants. We ate in a comida-a-kilo called Couveflor (Cauliflower), which had a had some good vegetarian dishes (for once!). The pizza looked good as well, although it was only available in the evening. Overall, a nice afternoon’s jaunt, which would have been even better with a clear blue sky.