When I think of Rio de Janeiro I think of beautiful women, teeny weeny bikinis and a large Jesus statue (Christ the Redeemer).
So during my recent stay there I planned a visit to see the big fellow.
Now, I wouldn’t call myself religious (although I do consider myself to be somewhat spiritual) so I was unsure what to expect. Was I going to feel an overwhelming feeling of spiritual enlightenment? Or perhaps I would suddenly be inclined to buy some rosemary beads and say a few Hail Mary’s?
Neither of these things happened but I was in awe of the iconic and very large statue.
Honored as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, this 98 foot statue stands with his arms stretched, as if he is embracing all of his visitors.
And it seems he has many visitors; two millions a year in fact. There are people from all walks of life who come to pay their respects to this majestic monument. And you really don’t need to be religious to understand the appeal. As one of the biggest statues in the world, there is much more to Christ the Redeemer than the religious aspects.
He is situated at the peak of Corcovado mountain in Tijuca National Park, at a staggering 2,330 foot elevation.
After a 9 year construction, Christ the Redeemer opened in 1931. Since then it has undergone a little beauty work including new lights, which were installed in 2000. At night the lights make it seem like he is hovering over the city. It’s an amazing sight (one which I could see from my hotel rooftop).
The view from the top of Corcovado during the day is nothing short of spectacular either. On a clear day you can just about see all of Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain and the beautiful Atlantic.
There are a few ways to get to Corcovado Mountain. From Copacabana there is a bus, which will take you to the train station at the bottom of the mountain. From there you catch the train up through the national park, which is a sight in itself.
I went the easiest route and caught a cab from Copa Beach to the mountain, which cost $18 (USD).
The train from the bottom of the mountain to the top runs every 20 minutes between 8.30am and 7pm daily. My advice is to get there early. I arrived at 8.50am and still had to wait nearly an hour for the next available train. I’m told it gets even worse as the day progresses. The train will cost you about $25 (USD), which includes your entry fee to the statue.
If you can at all help it, try to go during the week. Although there are many visitors here every day of the year the weekdays are less crowded.
Now if you are one of these fitness junkies, unlike myself, there is a great hike you can do through the national park to the top of the mountain. And just when you think you have made it to the top, there are 220 stairs waiting for you! But don’t worry, if you are allergic to extreme exercise like me, they kindly offer lifts and escalators to get you from where the train drops you off right to the big follow.
As the most visited attraction of Brazil this is a must see on your visit to Rio.
Have you been to Christ the Redeemer? What did you think?