For a taste of the cerrado before heading deeper into the planalto, or just a temporary break from the city, consider venturing to the Jardim Botânico, at the far end of Asa Norte, and the Parque Nacional de Brasília, across the striking JK Bridge over Lago Paranoá in Lago Sul. Both were created in the early 1960s to preserve large green spaces within easy reach of the city – it seemed superfluous then, but the pace of development has been so fast that there would be very little native cerrado anywhere near the city without them. The Jardim Botânico, at Setor de Mansões Dom Bosco in Lago Sul, is a calm and well-organized retreat where you can experience the flora and fauna of the cerrado at first hand. There’s an information centre, a large display of medicinal plants of the region, a herb garden, and over forty square kilometres of nature reserve with an extensive network of trails. It’s good hiking, but make sure you bring a hat and water.

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