Article provided by Rio de janeiro guide

Catacumba Park and Leme Fort

If you have a deep interest in history and spending vacations in places filled with history buildings, Rio de Janeiro is probably not, and neither should it be, your first choice for vacation spot.
What Rio de Janeiro has in large doses, however, is present day culture and wonderful nature. I will here give advice about two generally overlooked examples of the latter.

Two places are a must visit to every visitor to Rio de Janeiro. First is Christ the Redeemer statue, located on 710 meters (2330 feet) on the mountain of Corcovado.
Second place you have to visit is the 395 meters (1296 feet) tall Sugar Loaf.

Throughout Rio de Janeiro, particularly in the southern and western parts, there are numerous other places worth to visit to enjoy the great nature.
Two of them, Catacumba Park and Leme Fort, are not commonly known but easily available for the ones staying in an apartment or a hotel in Ipanema or Copacabana.
The access to the spots is with the help of your feet, and physically challenging. Second thing to remember is that the strong mid day sun light in Rio de Janeiro makes it very difficult to take good pictures from both places and should therefore be visited early or late in the day.

The least challenging of the two is Fort of Leme. It is located at the end of the beach of Copacabana in the area of Leme.
It is a fort in use by the military, but open to the public between 09.30 and 16.30 from Tuesday to Sunday.
Inside the fort you walk 800 meters uphill inside forest area. Walking slowly without making too much noise and you will get to see a lot of Lizards before you make it to the top.

View from Leme Fort - direction of Copacabana Beach
Leme fort
From the top you will have a magnificent view. Not only to the beach of Copacabana, as seen in picture above, but also to the Sugar Loaf and the entrance of Guanabara Bay.

The most challenging of the view points are Catacumba Park which is located in Avenida Epitácio Pessoa 3000, which is the main street between the Lagoon, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, and neighbourhood of Ipanema.
Since the Lagoon itself is a must visit, you can combine visit to the park with visit to the Lagoon.

From the top you have, as seen in picture below, overview of the Lagoon as well as the areas of Gávea, Leblon and Ipanema.
Catacumba Park
Catacumba Park is open from 09.00 to 17.00 and the most interesting part of the park is the view spot. Going to the left in the park you will meet the first stairs of which there are many.
Getting to the top is like walking up the stairs in a 15 stories building. If you have difficulties walking stairs or are not in general good physical condition getting to the top will be difficult.
For the ones getting to the top it is however well worth the efforts. The view from here gives a unique angle of the Lagoon, the racetrack, Ipanema, Leblon, and Gavea.

Going to the right in the park, you will see a large selection of sculptures.