If you told me that one day I’d be sitting at the base of Christ the Redeemer, which stands high atop Corcovado Mountain at 2,343 feet above sea level, casually taking notes and snapping photos, I wouldn’t have believed it. Name your top ten sights around the entire globe, and this statue, with its arms outstretched in welcome high above the city, has to be somewhere near the top. There are tourist attractions, sights that you’d rather avoid like the plague for fear of being stuffed in with annoying tourists for something totally overrated. And then there are must-see sights, where no matter how packed it is, you just have to go. A trip up Corcovado Mountain to stand at the feet of Christ definitely falls into the latter category.
When you arrive, a slew of tour guides will approach you, offering to personally drive you to the top instead of waiting for the potentially crowded tram. Considering that it costs $30R for a round-trip ticket for the tram, you won’t get ripped off if you go with the guide, but I’d recommend breezing by them and just taking the tram. Take a walk around the waiting area, checking out the photographs and history behind the construction of Christ, which was finished (9 years late) in 1931. There’s also a café selling candy, coffee, guarana drinks, etc.
The departure time for the next tram is listed right above the entrance, so go ahead and step in line about 15 minutes before it arrives to ensure a seat on the right side of the tram. As it slowly crawls up the side of Corcovado, you’ll get the best views of the tropical valleys below, and catch a glimpse of the villages that sprawl up the side.
Make sure you choose a clear day for your outing. Because of its high elevation, even on days that seem clear, a fine mist of clouds can hinder the eye-popping views you’ll get from the base of the statue. We were lucky enough to arrive at the perfect time, as by the time we rode back down, it was already too cloudy to get the views we had enjoyed just an hour earlier.
Speaking of the views: man . . . totally insane. The Atlantic Ocean, the beaches, Rio . . . wow. And oh, yeah—turn around and there’s Christ the Redeemer, an Art Deco masterpiece that you just can’t help but stare at for a while. You’ll undoubtedly have your camera on overdrive just like the other equally captivated visitors. Just about everyone thought it was cute to have their picture taken in front of Christ with their arms outstretched like Him—we didn’t.
Tourist attraction? Maybe—but this one’s the real deal. Don’t miss it.