This post was originally written in 2014, but has been updated in 2019 with the latest info and tips for those looking to embark on a hike to Christ the Redeemer, Brazil.
2300 ft above Rio de Janeiro at the top of Corcovado Mountain, sits one of the most iconic statues in the world – the statue of Christo Redentor, or the Christ the Redeemer statue.
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Every year, over 300,000 visitors make their way up to the mountain peak to take in the panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro that lies beneath it. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering ‘Where is Christ the Redeemer?’ now you know the answer is ‘very high up.’
The Most Popular Route to Christ the Redeemer
The majority of travelers choose to reach Christ the Redeemer, Brazil via the Corcovado Rack Railway, or Trem do Corcovado. They pay R$62 ($16 USD) in low season and R$75 ($19.50 USD) in high season for their round-trip train ride and admission to the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The high season is from December to March, and the low season is typically from April to November.
The ride takes about 20 minutes each way and takes you through the lush scenery of Tijuca Rainforest. It sounds like a wonderful way to get up to the top, but unfortunately, the reality of this train ride can be far from that.
Think hour long queues to board the train, sold out Corcovado tickets, and being crammed inside the car with hundreds of other travelers. This didn’t sound like our idea of fun, so after a bit of research, we came across an alternative route to hike to Christ the Redeemer.
Embarking on a Hike To Christ The Redeemer
We saw a brief mention of an alternative 2-hour hiking trail up Corcovado Mountain on Wikitravel. Despite having very few details about the hike, the path, and the level of difficulty ahead of us, we jumped on the challenge.
Beginning The Hike To Christ The Redeemer
We arrived at Parque Lage, the start of the hike to Christ the Redeemer, just after 10 am, not really knowing what to expect. Stepping into the park we were immediately taken aback by the contrast between the lush peaceful surroundings inside the park with the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro streets just outside the entrance.
The park is a beautiful place to visit, even if you don’t fancy a hike to Christ the Redeemer, Brazil. Inside the park are a number of short walking paths that allow you to soak in the beautiful nature in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.
After spending a bit of time taking in the beautiful views around the park, we were finally ready to begin our hike to Christ the Redeemer.
To our pleasant surprise, the hike started at a small security house with clearly marked signs and directions up the mountain. Before letting us start the hike, the security guards inside the check-point carefully took down our names and emergency contact info, making us feel a lot more comfortable about the adventure ahead.
The first part of the hike was easy. The trail wasn’t steep and the rainforest was pleasantly cool, with the trees providing a nice shade from the hot Brazilian sun. After only a short walk, we both agreed, this was so much more pleasant than the cramped train ride!
We passed a few “waterfalls” along the way. We’re sure these look a lot more attractive in spring/summer but in the winter, they were nothing more than wet rocks.
After about 20 minutes along the trail, we came to a steeper part of the mountain. we naively thought that this was just a brief incline along the trail, but unfortunately, it wasn’t.
More Challenging Than We First Imagined
After only a few minutes of climbing up the steep incline, we were out of breath. Now, we like to think of ourselves as fit people. When we’re not traveling, we eat healthily, exercise a few times a week, and get outside as much as we can. We didn’t think this hike was going to be an issue at all. We were wrong…
The steep trail continued on for another 10-20 minutes until we reached the most difficult part of the trail: steep rock with a chain tied to the top of the rock. Holding onto the chain you were meant to pull yourself up to the top.
It wasn’t easy, but we managed to pull ourselves up. As we stood at the top of the rock, catching our breath, we really questioned whether we should’ve gone on this hike and whether we would make it to the top…
We took a few more steps and spotted a stunning view of Rio de Janeiro starting to peek out from among the trees.
It was exactly the motivation we needed to keep going. After another 15-20 mins, we crossed the train tracks and reached the road. The end was near.
Seeing this view as we approached the top was almost surreal. Within seconds, all the pain from the hike and struggles on the way up seemed completely worth it.
Arriving At Christ the Redeemer
As we approached one of the world’s most iconic statues, we became overwhelmed by the feeling of accomplishment blended with the feeling of excitement… we suppose it’s the rush that you get after finishing any physically and mentally challenging activity.
It’s so powerful! And it’s the reason why we continue to challenge ourselves with these types of adventurous activities over and over again.
The view from the top, although interrupted by hundreds of other travelers, was incredible. You could look down on all of Rio de Janeiro, spotting Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance, the parks, and mountains covering the city, the beaches of Copacabana to Leblon and Guanabara Bay.
So, Should You Hike Up The Trail to Corcovado Mountain?
If you are traveling to Brazil and are considering a hike to Christ the Redeemer, we highly recommend it under the right circumstances! While it is a challenging climb and at times, it will make you wonder why on earth you signed up for it, in the end, it is definitely worth it.
Plus it’s the most environmentally friendly way of visiting the iconic statue!
Foolproof Tips for Hiking to Christ the Redeemer
Here are a few tips that might help make your hike to Christ the Redeemer a bit smoother:
Climb in the morning
It will help you avoid the heat and other climbers. In the morning, everyone will be going up, but as the day progresses some will decide to take the trail down. The trail for the Corcovado hike is fairly narrow, so meeting ongoing traffic will inevitably slow you down.
Bring lots of water
The climb is rather exhausting and you will get dehydrated. 2 litres per person should last you through the hike.
We recommend bringing a reusable water bottle, like Hydroflask, and filling it up from your hotel beforehand. With Hydroflask your water is guaranteed to stay cold for up to 24 hours so you won’t need to worry about it getting warm during your hike to the top.
We bring our Hydroflask with us no matter where we go!If your hotel doesn’t have drinking water on tap, consider investing in a personal Steripen which makes almost any water drinkable. For more information on the benefits of drinking more water, click here.
Wear shoes with a grip, comfortable clothes, and leave your valuables at home
You don’t necessarily need to get out your hiking boots, but please don’t attempt to hike up in flip-flops. It’s not a walk in the park.
There have recently been increased reports of robberies on the trail, so please leave any valuables you might have at home!
Buy Your Ticket to Christ the Redeemer Monument at the Top
Don’t stress about trying to find Christ the Redeemer tickets before you leave. You can easily get them from one of the staff manning the entrance to the statue.
Your ticket to the statue will include a van ride back to Paineiras, inside Parque Nacional da Tijuca, if you choose to forgo taking the same trail back down to Parque Lage.
Get into the Right Van!
The van ride that is included in your admission ticket will only take you down to Paineiras, but finding a way to get from Paneiras back down to the city is tough.
There are vans that can drive you down to Rua Amirante Alexandrino, but if you are staying in Copacabana or elsewhere in Rio, you’ll have to take another bus to get back to your accommodation. A better way is to try and get the ticket for the Copacabana vans.
These leave from the exact same place at the top of Corcovado Mountain. You can either try to buy a ticket for that van or use your Paneiras ticket to sneak into the Copacabana line (don’t tell anyone we suggested this).
Be careful about getting the right van back to the city!
Is The Hike to Christ The Redeemer Safe?
We would definitely advise anyone attempting this hike to use caution and hike at their own risk. In recent years, since our experience, there has been a tremendous increase in robberies, and violent robberies on the trail to the famous monument.
The height of violence occurred in 2017 when a polish man was stabbed during a robbery. Several men were charged in connection to the incident, and the trail was closed down for the summer.
Since then there has been an effort to improve the safety on the trail but police resources are scarce in Rio.
If you do indeed intend to venture up the mountain exercise caution, do not carry ANY valuables, and always travel in a group.
Is There An Easier Way?
The Answer is Yes
If you are thinking, all of this is wonderful, but I really have no interest in doing the 2-hour Corcovado hike, nor do I want to spend 1-2 hours waiting for my train, and I’m concerned about safety. Isn’t there another way?
There is! You can take an official Parque Nacional da Tijuca van all the way up to the top of Corcovado Mountain. You can book your tickets for the van here, and choose 1 of the 3 departure points: Copacabana, Largo do Machao, or Panineiras Visitor Centre.
Copacabana and Largo do Machao
Shuttles run Monday-Friday from 8 a.m to 4 p.m, and on the weekends and holidays from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
Ticket prices are R$61 ($15.50 USD) in the low season and R$74 ($19 USD) in the high season.
Panineiras Visitor Centre
Shuttles run every day from 8 a.m to 6 p.m.
Ticket prices are R$28 ($7.50 USD) in the low season and R$41 ($10.50 USD) in the high season. To determine if your traveling during the high season, check the Parque Nacional da Tijuna high season calendar is here.
This is the fastest and most efficient way to get to the top and is definitely the preferred choice for travelers with limited time.
You can get a shuttle bus from Copacabana Beach to Christ the Redeemer.
Where To Stay Near Christ The Redeemer
Rio de Janeiro has a slew of accommodation options. Here are our favourite green hotels in the area that are committed to sustainable business practices.
Arena Leme Hotel’s environmental protection plan started with its construction. The hotel is located just in front of Copacabana Beach, which means that much of the hotel offers stunning views of the beach and ocean below.
Banana Leaf Eco Hostel is located in the tranquil neighbourhood of barra da Guaratiba, just west of downtown Rio. Private and dorm rooms are available.
Green Culture Eco Hostel is a backpacker style accommodation, with both private and dorm rooms available. This hostel is a great place to experience Brazilian culture, as it’s tucked into a residential neighbourhood.
We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially in a country like Brazil. Whether you plan to explore the cities or enjoying a hike to the Christ the Redeemer, being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind. We learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way and now we never travel without coverage.
Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads.
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To learn more about our trip to Brazil, check out these posts: