on December 7, 2002
In the area of “must-sees” for a tourist, the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue is the city’s Eiffel Tower and it would be difficult to justify missing it. There is a train that takes visitors through the Tijuca preserve, a rain forest that surrounds the statue and is filled with tropical flora and fauna. We saw a few monkeys at the top as we waited for the return ride down. The statue itself is impressive, but it quickly becomes apparent that the great pictures of that famous work are not taken from the viewing area at the base. The best shots are likely achieved from helicopters, since the massive size makes it difficult to gather everything in a nicely composed shot. Located on the summit of Corcovada, the statue is visible to millions as they go about their daily business and the panoramic views from the site are fabulous.
A tram takes visitors to the summit and while the parking lot near the base can have its share of souvenir peddlers, you will quickly escape them by simply heading up to the ticket window. Tickets are sold with a departure time imprinted on them so it's a fairly organized system. A small museum is there to help you kill some time if you have much of a wait and there are refreshments and restrooms available.
The ride up through the Tujica rain forest preserve will give you a good look at some tropical plants and you might catch a glimpse of the occasional monkey. It's a steep grade and in at least one point in the ride up, your train will have to pull onto a siding to allow a descending train to pass by. The trains run every 20 minutes.
While tours are certainly available for Corcovado and the statue, it is definitely more efficient and perhaps even more cost-effective to take a cab. We found ourselves waiting for three trains to return (an hour), as members of our bus group trickled down from the summit -- not a very exciting way to spend time. You can check out the official website for the monument online at www.corcovado.com.br.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009