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Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (21)

This lagoon, which measures nearly four square kilometres, could easily accommodate the Maracanã Stadium over a hundred times. It is such a large surface that from the walkway it's impossible to appreciate its sheer size. Instead, head to one of the viewpoints on one of the the nearby hills (Corcovado, Dois Irmãos, Da Saudade or Dos Cabritos) to get a better picture of the magnitude of this famous Brazilian lagoon.

Before the arrival of the Portuguese, this area was known as Socopenapã, which in Tupi means "Lake of the flat roots", but the Portuguese called it "Hocó way" in honour of this indigenous, heron-like bird.

During the early stages of Rio's colonisation, the large numbers of lagoons and ponds made it impossible to construct residential, commercial and leisure areas. Because of its large size, and despite the fact that much of the initial land on the coast has been consumed by the construction of luxurious buildings and the promenade, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon was one of the few lagoons that were not buried in the construction process in the city, which was once was the capital of the country. The lagoon is connected to the Jardim de Alah, a canal that separates the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon at the Atlantic Ocean estuary and serves as a channel to prevent stagnation of the water.

If you're lucky enough to be walking along this promenade in December, you'll notice the large floating Christmas tree in the middle of the lagoon. It is considered one of the greatest Christmas events in Rio de Janeiro. The switching on of its lights marks the beginning of the Christmas holidays and has become a distinctive symbol of the city, along with the famous Carnival and the Reveillon New Year's Eve party.

The reflection of the sunset leaves a golden hue in the waters of the lagoon, and provides one of the best images you'll see in Rio. 

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