Christ the Redeemer is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Towering at the top of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Christ the Redeemer was completed in 1931 and, today is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. At nearly 100 feet tall, the soapstone and concrete statue welcomes every visitor with arms wide open. It’s impossible not to stare in awe at this inspirational sight, but perhaps even more extraordinary is the view from the top of the mountain. It’s truly phenomenal.
Check the Weather
Just because the sun is shining on Copacabana Beach doesn’t mean it will be at the top of Mount Corcovado. In fact, even if the weather seems fine when you start your trek to the top of the mountain, you might be in for a surprise at the top. The truth is that the weather in Rio is somewhat unpredictable, and low-hanging clouds often cover Christ the Redeemer, obscuring your view of the statue and the city below. If you’ve got a few days to spare in Rio, keep your eye on Corcovado, literally. If you see can’t see Christ through the clouds from the ground, it’s not the best time to visit.
Prepare for Crowds
Even in the offseason, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself amid a large crowd at Christ the Redeemer. Whether it’s waiting in line for tickets or to get a glimpse of the city from above, there are always plenty of people vying for a position at the front of the line. In the peak season, you can expect to wait for hours to reach the top of the mountain.
Take the Train
Sure, you can take a van or a bus or a taxi to the stop of Corcovado, but you’ll be missing out on the full experience if you don’t take the train. Built in 1884, the two-car train wends its way through the lush Tijuca Forest toward the top of Mount Corcovado. Each year, more than half-a-million people climb aboard to look for monkeys and other rainforest animals on their way to Christ the Redeemer. When you buy your ticket at the base of the mountain, you’ll be given a time to return for your ten-minute train ride to the top. It’s well worth the wait.
Partway up the mountain, you’ll stop for a few minutes so that men waiting along the tracks can sell ice cold bottles of water to guests for a fraction of what it costs at the top. But beware—the train will start rolling again without warning. You may have only a few seconds to get in on the action. If you can, try to sit on the right side of the train going up (the left going down). You’ll be treated to an extraordinary—if fleeting—view just before the end of the ride.
Expect the Steps
No matter what mode of transportation you take to the top of Corcovado, you’ll still need to climb the stairs to Christ the Redeemer. The train—and all other vehicles—can only take you so far up Corcovado. You can wait for an elevator to the top, but if you’re able, opt for the 200 or so stairs. There are plenty of lookout points where you can rest and take pictures along the way, and before you know it, you’ll be at the top. Trust me…the moment you see Christ, you’re bound to be inspired.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the clouds? Well, you just might find out. It’s not uncommon for the clouds to surround the mountain, creating an ethereal sensation. Whether you’re a believer or not, standing amid the clouds looking into Christs’s face is breathtaking, as are the views from the overlook surrounding the statue. You won’t soon forget the moment. Take some snaps, but then also take a few minutes just to drink it all in. Brazil is one of the most beautiful countries in the world—truly.
Shopping and More
On your way back down the stairs to the train, stop in some of the gift shops, and pick up a trinket to commemorate the moment. You can also grab a snack if you’re feeling a little peckish after climbing up—and down—all those stairs. You’ll also find a selection of souvenir shops at the base of the mountain, so don’t worry if you forgot to get that special someone a gift at the top of Christ the Redeemer.
Have you been to Christ the Redeemer? Do you have questions about the experience or an anecdote of your own to share? Drop us a line—we’d love to hear from you.