There are so many ways to visit Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), the statue standing 38m tall on Corcovado Mountain, serenely overlooking the Cityscape of Rio de Janeiro. Buses, motorbikes, cars and trains all make their way up, and tours can be arranged through hotels, agents, or the friendly tout on the street.
We decided that we needed to earn the view from the top. So we hiked.
Yes, we climbed the 710m vertical height of the mountain. Partly to save a few pennies on transport costs, but mainly for the experience.
The start of the trail leading to the top is on the left at the rear of the mansion in Parque Lage. It is inconspicuously marked, with a small orange cone and paper sign stating “Pedestrians Allowed” in Portuguese. The first ten minutes of the hike were easy, with a well-paved path meandering through the forest, passing the tranquil-sounding Duck Pond.
We passed a police checkpoint and dutifully gave our names and emergency contacts to them, wondering why on earth they might need them. From there, the paved path became a well-worn trail, marked by yellow boot prints.
The trail became steeper and steeper, and we spent the next hour scrambling up natural staircases made of dirt and tree roots.
The most challenging obstacle by far was trying to scale three huge boulders. These were only about 20-30 degrees off being vertical with the only assistance provided being a chain to pull yourself up with.
By this point we were shattered, so it was with great relief that we crossed over the train tracks, a sign that we were nearly at the top.
Soon after, we emerged onto the road and then it was a (relatively) easy walk to Christ himself. Never, in all my life, has a walk proved to be so satisfying. The moment the statue came into view above the trees feels like you have succeeded in a major accomplishment. It almost makes you forget the people in air-conditioned mini buses watching you drag your sweaty self up the last few metres.
We paid R$12 each (about £2.40) to access the monument. The view from the top was amazing, as was watching all the tourists in peculiar poses trying to get the perfect photograph.
After such a hard hike, we treated ourselves to ice cream in the shadow of one of the most famous landmarks in the world, before spending an eye-watering R$22 each to get the train back to the bottom.
Have you hiked up Corcovado before? How did you find it? Did you do any other hikes in Rio? Get in touch in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.
Love C and D x