Christ the Redeemer is on everyone’s bucket list when they visit the beautiful Rio de Janeiro. It is the top attraction in Rio and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Towering over the city atop Corcovado mountain, the statue is visible from all over Rio. Nearly 2 million visitors a year go up the mountain for a closer look. Here are the top travel tips to help plan your visit to this incredible statue.
A Brief History of the Statue
Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue created by French sculptor Paul Landowski. The statue is located on the top of Corcovado Mountain (2,300 ft.) in the Tijuca National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.
This statue was conceptualized when representatives of the Brazilian republic felt that after World War 1, the country needs a symbol to strengthen their faith again. The construction of Christ the Redeemer was finished in 1931. The statue is 30 meters high standing on 8 meters high pedestal and weights 635 tons. The massive arms of Christ the Redeemer stretch 28 meters wide.
How to reach Christ the Redeemer
- Take a tour to Christ the Redeemer
Most tour companies will provide a hotel pick-up and drop-off, saving you the hassle of navigating Rio’s transport system. While a variety of tour options are available, they will vary by destination, attractions, and quality. Here are a few of the best: Full day sightseeing tour of Rio including Christ statue or Half day tour including Christ statue and Sugarloaf mountain.
- Cog Train or Cable Car
The Cog train is the most famous and scenic route to reach Christ the Redeemer. The train takes you through Atlantic Forest to the top of Corcovado Mountain. This train originates in the Corcovado station in Cosme Velho. The train drops you to the point, from where you can take an escalator or walk up 220 steps to reach the statue.
This cog train takes only 20 minutes to reach the top. But it is a quaint and charming experience. It departs every 30 minutes starting at 8 am. The last train that can take you to the top of Corcovado is at 5 pm. To avoid standing in long queues for train tickets, it is advisable to book them online in advance. The ticket price also includes the return journey.
On the other hand, there’s the Cable Car which offers amazing views over the surrounding landscape. Tickets are often a bit more, but it’s a faster ride with epic views.
- Shuttle Van
There is a shuttle van that go to Christ the Redeemer, starting at 8 AM. There are 3 different pick-up points for taking this van in the city:
Point 1 is just outside Largo do Machado metro station.
The 2nd Point is in Copacabana which leaves from Praça do Lido
Point 3 is Barra da Tijuca (Citta America Shopping Center).
The shuttle van will take you to the information centre on the top. You need to take a bus shuttle to reach the base of the statue.
- Hike to the statue
If you are fit and adventurous, you can hike to reach Christ the Redeemer. It is a strenuous hike that takes about 2 hours to reach the top. You have an elevation gain of 700 meters / over 2000 feet. The hiking trail begins at Parque Lage, which is next to the Botanical Garden.
There is no hiking fee as such, but of course you do need the entrance tickets to Christ the Redeemer. Make sure you carry cash to buy tickets (if you haven’t done so online). You will bypass the Information Centre on the hiking trail, which is the only point that has a card machine.
- Drive up to the Information Centre
You can always take an uber to the top of Corcovado mountain. You will be dropped next to the Information Centre and then take the next available shuttle bus to reach the base of the statue.
Tickets for Christ the Redeemer
You can purchase the tickets at the Christ statue at the entrance gate, but these lines are really long. It is best avoided to spend hours standing in queue, so make sure you book tickets online in advance.
The Best Time to Visit
Summertime – December until March- is peak season for Rio de Janeiro. But be prepared for large crowds and steep prices. September and October (springtime) are the best months to visit Rio de Janeiro. The temperature is mild, still warm for the beaches with little humidity or rainy days. April, May, June (autumn months) is also a beautiful time to visit Rio.
It is better to visit the statue on weekdays rather than weekends to avoid local crowds. It is also recommended to visit Corcovado Mountain early in the morning or later in the evening rather than mid-day to avoid crowds. Also, note that local weather conditions will affect clouds, haze and visibility of the city from the top.
Christ the Redeemer is open daily from 8 AM until 7 PM.
Experiencing the Christ the Redeemer
Prepared to be jostled by people when you do reach the statue. Everyone is trying to take the perfect photo that covers the person and the massive statue as the backdrop. When we visited, work was going on and the statue was covered in scaffolding.
But nothing could take away from the panoramic views of the city laid beneath our feet. Rio is just stunning: all of Maracana and Sambadrome to Sugar Loaf Mountain, the lagoon, and Copacabana Beach.
You spend about 30 minutes at the top. There is nothing much to do on the top except admire the statue and the breath-taking views of the city.
While visiting Rio de Janeiro, you must take a cable car up to Sugar loaf Mountain. We took this cable car in the evening hours and got dramatic sunset views of the city, very different from the one that you get from the top of Corcovado Mountain.
What to bring to Christ the Redeemer
Obviously your camera and smartphone to take those awesome pictures!
You will need sunscreen and sunglasses (maybe a cap) to protect yourself against the strong sun. And some water to keep yourself hydrated. Do wear comfortable clothes and shoes suited for warm, humid weather.
Shweta has always been passionate about travel and immersing in new experiences. Having been to over 45 countries, she blogs at Zest In A Tote to bring family-friendly itineraries and tips, destinations, and luxury stays to her readers. Her belief in family travel needn’t be boring and one can do a mix of local culture & food, adventure activities and relaxation, all with family.