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Day 2: Hike To Christ the Redeemer

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Rio de Janeiro, the vibrant and colorful city nestled between the mountains and the sea, is famous for many things. It's beaches, music, and Carnival are just some of the reasons that make this city a top destination for travelers around the world. But perhaps none more so than the Christ the Redeemer statue. Standing tall at an elevation of 2,340 feet above sea level, the statue can be seen from all corners of the city and is one of the most iconic landmarks not just of Rio, but of Brazil as a whole.

Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Statue can be seen from everywhere

There are several ways to experience the statue, from taking a helicopter ride around it, to riding the tram to the top, or for the more adventurous, hiking up the mountain to the summit. And that's exactly what I did.

My Guide Sabrina showing how to use the chains and ladder to climb the rocks

I met my guide, Sabrina, early in the morning and we made our way to the trailhead. As I embarked on my journey to hike up to the summit of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, I couldn't help but feel a sense of trepidation. I hadn’t hiked in over 5 years, and the trail was just over 2 miles long, mostly uphill, with very few level spots. And the last half-mile? Seemingly the hardest and steepest, with a few rock climbing moments to stay on the path and a 20-foot segment involving guide chains and metal ladder steps in the rock.

Sabrina is an experienced and frequent hiker of Christ the Redeemer, so I knew

I was in good hands.

The trail was both challenging and amazing. As we climbed higher, we rested at 3 waterfalls which were a welcome oasis to recharge ourselves. The hike was grueling, and at times I struggled to keep going, but the thought of reaching the summit and witnessing the breathtaking views of Rio from atop the Christ the Redeemer statue kept me going.

Beauty is everywhere during the hike. We even met a monkey.

Finally, after 3 1/2 hours, we reached the top, and as I stood there, gazing out at the awe-inspiring view of Rio, I felt a sense of triumph wash over me. The statue itself was equally impressive, standing tall at 90 feet with hands outstretched, as if welcoming us to this magical place.

Christ the Redeemer Statue is impressive. Sugar Loaf mountain rises in this image from the summit.

But the adventure didn't end there. After riding the tram down the mountain, we made our way to a downtown area restaurant for a hearty traditional Brazilian lunch, which consisted of steak, cauliflower rice and black beans.

Typical Brazilian lunch

Then, as sunset approached, we took a stroll along the picturesque Red Beach, nestled in the shadow of Sugar Loaf mountain, and watched as the sky turned a dark blue.

View from Red Beach

Back in Leblon, exhausted but exhilarated, I settled in for a pizza at Ferro e Farinha, reflecting on the incredible day I had just experienced. It had been a day of challenge, beauty, and triumph, and one that I would never forget. The hike to the top of the Christ the Redeemer statue had pushed me to my limits, but in the end, it had been worth it - for the view, the sense of accomplishment, and the memories that would stay with me forever.

If you're planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, I highly recommend taking the hike to the top of the Christ the Redeemer statue. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you breathless, both from the hike and the incredible views of the city. But be warned, the hike is not for the faint of heart. It's challenging, and you'll need to be in good physical condition to make it to the top. However, if you're up for the challenge, it's an experience that you'll never forget.

An experience guide can help.

I recommend Sabrina Gama (@riowithsabrina) on Instagram.


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