Corcovado might not sound familiar, but Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) should. Cristo Redentor is Rio de Janeiro’s iconic 30m tall statue of Christ with arms outstretched. It was erected in 1931. The mountain it sits on is named Corcovado and is part of Parque Nacional da Tijuca, which lies within the UNESCO World Heritage listing for Rio.
There are two ways to get all the way to the top of Corcovado. The first is by train, Trem do Corcovado. The tickets can only be bought online and due to limited space, this option binds you to a specific time and day. If it’s raining or cloudy, you’re stuck with that time.
The other option is by one of the three minibus pickup points throughout the city. You can get picked up at Praça do Lido in Copacabana, Largo do Machado in Flamengo, or Estradas das Paineiras. Ticket prices vary by location and high/low season. We paid BRA$51 at the Copacabana pickup point. The minibus takes you directly to the gates of the park where you can climb up a few steps or ride the elevator up to the base of the statue.
It’s best to get there as early as possible for two reasons. The first is to avoid crowds. It gets ridiculously crowded with tourists pushing and shoving to get good spots for photos and others doing annoying poses with arms outstretched.
The second reason is because in the morning, the sun is shining directly on the face of the statue. This is the time to get the best photos of the statue without any interference from the sun.
From the overcrowded viewpoint, the views are great. You can see every point of Rio from up there.
My favorite view was of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a huge lagoon behind Ipanema. The lagoon is surrounded by Lagoa, one of the richest neighborhoods in Rio. There are lots of parks and bike paths around the lagoon. You can also get a great view of Pão de Açúcar.
At the top is a small café and a gift shops to buy souvenirs. When you finish your visit, a minibus leaves every 30 minutes to take you to your drop-off point.