As we were landing in the sprawling city of Rio De Janeiro, it was hard to take our eyes off of the monstrous mountains that surrounded the Brazilian city on the Sea. One mountain that particularly caught our eyes was Corcovado Mountain, the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue.
While many take the train or bus up to the top of the mountain, we decided to take the road less traveled, and adventure up the 2330 foot high Corcovado Mountain. Named Corcovado for its “hunchback” shape (Corcovado = hunchback in Portuguese), this hike is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps it was the jetlag catching up with us or the complete vertical hike up, but this was definitely an advanced hike.
START OF THE HIKE
We took an Uber to the base of the mountain at the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens) at the Parque Lage. The trailhead is a bit difficult to find, so make sure to walk behind the main building of the Jardim Botanico until you see signs for the Trailhead. You’ll check in with the guards and write your name and number down so they can make sure you are accounted for.
*Note: Due to the opening times of Christ the Redeemer and the time of the sunset, you must start this hike before 3:30 pm.
There are many birds, animals, and insects you will come across on your path. Be on the lookout for Toucans, which perch themselves on the tops of trees. You’ll also see lots of Marmosets, Capuchin Monkeys, and butterflies.
The beginning of the hike is smooth sailing, with a slight incline for about 30 minutes. You are surrounded by a lush rainforest and lots of jungle animal sounds. After zigzagging your way through the forest, you will come across what looks like natures steps. The roots of the trees form natural steps, which you are able to grab onto to help lift you up. The natural steps go on for what feels like a century. Feel free to take breathers on the way up – your quads and glutes will thank you!
About 45 minutes from the top, you will come across a somewhat tricky part of the hike. Because of slippery rocks on the path, there is a chain hammered in to help you scale up the rocks. This only lasts for about 20 feet and as your arms take most of the burden, it’s a nice break for your legs.
After the chains, there will be another steep natural stair climb for about 10 minutes. At the top of this climb, you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible viewpoint of the city that will make you forget all about the pain you just suffered through.
As you pass the viewpoint, you will come across train tracks. These are the train tracks that people take up to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. Make sure to look both ways before crossing. This is also a perfect point to take some beautiful photos of the trains passing. After you cross the train tracks, you will make your way up a staircase of rocks to continue your hike.
A few minutes later, you will come across a road where vans will be carrying people up the mountain to the Christ the Redeemer statue. Make a right on that road and follow it all the way up to the top of the mountain.
You made it! Once at the top of the mountain, you can buy tickets to gain entry to the statue. IMPORTANT NOTE: You can only pay in cash!!
If you want to hike back down, make sure to leave at least 2 hours before sunset to ensure a safe trek down. If you want to take public transportation down, you can take a van or train down to the bottom. Try to buy your tickets upon arrival to the Christ the Redeemer Statue. The cost of the train tickets is ~40R/person. We bought our tickets at the top of Corovado and rode the train down.
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