Christ the Redeemer: A Rio Icon and World Wonder
The Cristo Redentor statue that overlooks the city from the top of 700 metre tall Corcovado Mountain, is as synonymous with Rio de Janeiro as Gisele, Copacabana and Carnivale.
Completed in 1931 and weighing 635 tonnes, the Cristo is considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world. Standing 39.6 metres tall and 30 metres wide, he is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and is a symbol of Brazilian Christianity. The design of the Cristo with arms wide open signifies peace.
Of course, we couldn’t leave Rio without seeing this new World Wonder ourselves.
It was a bit cloudy in Rio (I know! We couldn’t believe it either. Clouds in Rio!?), so we had to wait a few days before visiting. After all, there’s no sense spending all those reias, if you can’t see anything from the top.
We were finally rewarded with skies clear enough to make the trip worthwhile, so we headed over to the Rua Cosmo Velho to catch the old fashioned funicular train. Winding through the Tijuca forest and up to the summit, the ride takes about 20 minutes and even includes some samba musicians! Those Brazilian girls sure aren’t shy about getting up and shaking their booty in front of complete strangers. 🙂
From the top of Corcovado, you can see all of Rio laid out beneath you and it truly is one of the most spectacular cities I’ve ever seen. The Cristo is no less spectacular. Up close, it is truly massive, and it’s spot overlooking the Cidade Maravilhosa second to none.
To get to Corcovado Mountain and the Cristo:
The Trem do Corcovado runs every 30 minutes, from the Rua Cosme Velho. Tickets cost R$44 for a round trip, and includes the price of admission to the Cristo. It’s a beautiful and peaceful journey through the Brazilian forest and an experience in and of itself. Well worth the dollars! You can take a taxi to the Cosme Velho or take the Metro-Onibus from the Largo do Machado station, located between the Flamengo and Catete stops.
You can skip the train and take a taxi up to the top, but it will cost you R$20 round-trip to enter the park and then another R$18 to take a required shuttle up to the Cristo.
If you want to hike up the Corcovado, you can begin at Parque Lage and look for signs that say “Trilha” to get to the start of the trail. It takes up to 2 hours to complete the hike. At the top however, you are required to get in a shuttle and take it down the mountain for a short ways. It will cost you R$25.
Tips for Seeing the Cristo:
1) Wait for a clear day. The views from the top of the mountain are stunning, but often the Cristo’s head is covered by clouds.
2) If you’re planning on visiting Sugar Loaf AND Corcovado, visit Sugar Loaf first. Sugar Loaf will be anti-climactic if you do it in the reverse order.
3) If you plan on hiking up to Corcovado, don’t take any excess valuables. Robberies are rare, but they do happen.