Despite popular perception of Brasília as an arid city where concrete, glass, and asphalt rule, once you get off the beaten Plano Piloto, you’ll find a surprisingly vast number of parks that make the capital one of the greenest cities in Brazil.
The most central and easiest to get to is the Parque da Cidade (Eixo Monumental Sul, tel. 61/3325-1092, 5 a.m.–midnight daily). Officially known as the Parque Sarah Kubitschek, this sprawling park features wooded areas and a large artificial lake. Locals routinely take advantage of its biking, jogging, and walking trails as well as its bars and food kiosks.
Another favorite recreational destination is the Lago Paranoá, an immense artificial lake surrounded by parkland, walking trails, sports clubs, and restaurants and bars. Most attractions are around the Lago Sul (southern part of the lake), including the Ermida Dom Bosco (Estrada Parque Dom Bosco, Lago Sul, Setor de Mansões Dom Bosco, Cj. 12, tel. 61/3367-4505, daily), a sanctuary devoted to Dom Bosco along with a futuristic monastery and gardens designed by Burle Marx that offer panoramic views of the Plano Piloto.
From the rodoviária, both the 123 and 125 buses circle around the southern shore.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition