Parque Nacional da Tijuca - Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro - RJ
If there’s one image that comes to mind when we think about the city of Río de Janeiro, it’s that of Christ the Redeemer, or Christ of Corcovado, with arms extended looking toward the city and the sea. This awesome art deco statue is 125 feet high (38 meters), weighs 1200 tons, and is mounted 2300 feet above sea level at the summit of the Corcovado Hills in Tijuca National Park.
Inaugurated in 1930, Christ the Redeemer of Corcovado is positioned on the highest point of the city of Rio. It’s visited every year by 2 million tourists coming from other states in Brazil and all over the world who come to see with their own eyes one of the most striking attractions of the city. It’s not a coincidence that in 2007 Christ the Redeemer of Corcovado was named one of the 7 wonders of the world (along with The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, The Roman Coliseum, Chichén Itza, Petra, and the Taj Mahal) in a vote of 1 billion people.
To get to the summit of Corcovado you must first get to the base of this large hill, which you can do driving a rental car in the direction of Cosme Velho. In the Corcovado Train Station, opened in 1882, you then must buy train tickets that will take to the summit, traveling through the part of the park known as Serra Da Carioca. This red train makes trips between 8am and 7pm and leaves every 30 minutes. During the 20 minute trip through lush jungle vegetation a Brazilian band livens up the ride with samba rhythms and gets us ready for the amazing sight. It’s good to know that to avoid long ticket lines you can buy your roundtrip tickets ahead of time over the Internet.
Once you get to the top your only job is to take a precious photo with your arms open and Christ behind you in the same position, and then to marvel at the stunning 360 degree view from the balconies surrounding the statue. You can see Pan de Azúcar, Bahía de Guanabara, the city of Río, beaches, favelas, and the wild jungle all around. Then you can descend along the lovely staircase to take the train to return to your rental car.
It’s best to not visit Christ of Corcovado on a foggy day because the clouds can completely cover the view. And if you can, avoid weekends since there are so many visitors on Saturdays and Sundays.
From the south you can drive your rental car to Christ of Corcovado along Ladeira dos Guararapes or Ladeira do Ascura de Cosme Velho, or from the neighborhood of Santa Teresa along Rua Almirante Alesandrino. Those coming from the north by rental car will take Estrada das Paineiras in the neighborhood of Alto da Boa Vista.
Traveling in a rented car is liberating, however traffic in Río is complicated so you’ll enjoy yourself much more if you make sure your rental car has GPS in your language.
There is a paid parking lot near the Corcovado train station where you can leave your rented car. It’s the parking lot for the Parish of Christ the Redeemer located in the 500 block of Rua das Laranjeiras. Another alternative is to leave it at the parking lot at Rua Cosme Velho 60. Don’t leave the car parked on the street if you don’t want to receive a parking ticket.
It’s also possible to drive your rental car up to the Paineiras Station and then continue up to Christ the Redeemer in an official park van. Parking there is limited to 150 vehicles, so a space is not guaranteed.
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