We went up Corcovado, the hill of Jesus Christ, on a Saturday, and it was definitely a poor decision to make. In fact, going to any touristic place in Rio on a weekend is already a bad idea. We didn’t know this, but for your own benefit you might want to bear this in mind.
How to get up
There are a few ways in which you can get up the hill to take a close look at Jesus. The most popular ones are the train, which costs 48 Reais and includes the entrance fee of 25 Reais, and the minivans, which cost 8 Reais more but there is virtually no waiting time (as opposed to the waiting time for the train which can go up to 3-4 hrs) and they also stop for some gorgeous sightseeing on the way up.
Another way, a cheaper one, is to have a normal taxi take you up half way and then walk up. The problem with that is you will need to figure out how to get back down.
And yet another way, the cheapest one, is on foot. It takes about 2-4 hours to go up (depending on your fitness level) and less than that to come down; it’s not an easy climb and at times you have to help yourself by hanging on to roots, so it’s not for the physically unfit. It is beautiful though, so if you’re up for it and the weather is on your side you get yourself a really lovely day out. You might find people telling you it’s too long and tough hence not walkable – do yourself a favor and ignore them.
Oh, you will still need to pay the 25 Reais entrance fee when you get up.
When to go up
We had been told to go there around 2pm to see the view from the hill both during day time and after dark. That’s definitely the thing to do! And if it’s 2pm on a weekday as opposed to weekend, all the better. On the way up, the van we were in stopped in a couple of places where we took lovely pictures and could not get enough of the scenery. At some point, on the helipad just below the statue, we saw 3 clowns clowning around and taking pictures of each other. We asked them if we could join and got ourselves what is still our favorite picture in the trip so far:
How it feels being up there
When we got near the statue we instantly felt a huge joy about being there. I could vividly remember the times when as a child I’d see the statue on TV and dream of the time I’d be able to see it live. The encounter was as amazing as I had expected it to be, the only difference being the perception of size – on TV it always seemed humongous as it was filmed from the helicopter, but in actual fact the statue is not much taller than the one is Lisbon (28 meters) – only 30 meters high. What makes it seem so high is the 700m hill it’s built on. That makes it possible for it to be seen from pretty much anywhere in Rio and makes it seem like it’s looking over the city, protecting it even. When it lights up at night it’s really a special view!
Even the huge crowds that day were not enough to spoil our mood, so we patiently waited for a good moment to take pictures with Jesus hugging us or us hugging him, we then went to the little chapel inside the statue and enjoyed some special time meditating and reflecting on dreams, reality, gratitude. Again. I know “gratitude” has become a central theme by now, but thuth is we do a lot of it :).
We got out of the chapel when it was already dark and were totally wowed by the city at night. A different perspective of Rio, without a doubt, and one not to be missed!
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