Indigenous Names

Many place names in Rio state have their origins in indigenous words, including the following:

  • Geribá A kind of coconut palm.
  • Guanabara Arm of the sea.
  • Ipanema Place that gives bad luck or place of dangerous sea.
  • Itatiaia Many-pointed rock.
  • Mangaratiba Banana orchard.
  • Paraty A kind of fish.
  • Saquarema Lagoon without shells.
  • Tijuca Putrid-smelling swamp.

Detour: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise in Rio’s Back Yard

Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, only 80km from Rio’s Galeão airport, is part of the nonprofit Regua nature reserve, a 50-sq-km tract at the foot of the Serra dos Órgãos where Nicholas and Raquel Locke have dedicated their lives to restoring native ecosystems. Serious birders, or anyone who wants a genuine taste of Brazil’s remarkable biodiversity, should head here. Volunteers from around the world are engaged in an ambitious reforestation project, while school kids from the local community are invited to use the reserve as a hands-on environmental education laboratory.

The comfy rooms have solar hot water, meals are served family-style around a big table and the library of nature books makes for great browsing, caipirinha in hand, after a long day of bird-watching. The artificial pond ecosystem next to the lodge draws in a stupendous array of birds, as well as families of capybaras. A network of trails surrounding the lodge offers opportunities to enter into deeper forest and visit other attractions, including a lovely waterfall. For details on reaching the lodge by bus, car or van shuttle, see the lodge’s website.