An interpretation of whatBotafogo would have looked like around 1890. Painting by Eduardo Camões.

An interpretation of whatBotafogo would have looked like around 1890. Painting by Eduardo Camões.

Even though Botafogo has a beach it plays no big part in this neighbourhood, it is dirty and smelly and at night even dangerous. It is connected to Urca where you have Pão de Acucar (Sugarloaf) and the residential Humaitá which reaches all the way to Lagoa (the lake).


The name means set on fire and derives from the surname of a big landowner in the colonial days. Nowadays it’s a mainly middle class neighbourhood with lots of commerce. Two of Rio’s biggest shopping malls are located here. The largest is Rio Sul located on R. Lauro Muller 116 map, just before the tunnel that connects to Copacabana. The other one Botafogo Praia Shopping is located on the beach avenue Praia de Botafogo 400 map. There are also a few cinemas around that focus on less commercial films. There are three favelas here; Santa Marta (also called Dona Marta), Vila Benjamin Constant and Pico do Papagaio.


The neighbourhood is named after the big rock Morro da Urca, Urca being the name of a type of ship the Dutch used to transport sugar to Europe a long time ago that the rock resemble. It is a tranquil neighbourhood and has few problems. The biggest attraction is Pão de Açucar (The Sugarloaf). The spectacular cable car that goes to the top is one of the more famous sights in the world and to catch a sunset on the top of the second rock is really something. Right where the cable car station is you have a beach called Praia Vermelha, wedged in between two huge rocks it´s pretty amazing. A curiosity is that before they were prohibited there was a really famous casino in Urca. The building is still there but is now in ruins. In 2006 Instituto Europeu de Design (European Design Intitute) made a deal with the city and in exchange for renovating the house they don’t pay rent for 50 years.

  • Manioc Root in Brazil

    manioc rootsIn Brazil there is one tuber that is capable of creating stronger reactions than any other, the root of the manioc. An important source of carbohydrates, processed and used in innumerable ways it has a clear connotation to Indians and… Read more…

  • Famous Outlaws and Criminals From Brazil – Part One – Lampião

    Lampião and his band.All countries have them; outlaws and criminals that have reached almost legendary status. Names like Spartacus, Robin Hood and Jesse James have sparked the imagination of both writers and ordinary people since thousands of years. In this article series I… Read more…

Follow Gringo-Rio

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.