Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) monument in Rio de Janeiro is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. This morning, I had the opportunity to visit this immense statue. This was my sixth of the Seven Wonders, having previously visited the Roman Colosseum in Italy, Petra in Jordan, Taj Mahal in India, Great Wall of China in China and Machu Picchu in Peru. Only Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, has evaded my path so far, but I will get to this in the near future.
Christ the Redeemer is perched at the peak of Corcovado Mountain (704 meters) in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. The weather up here can be very unpredictable. As we experienced today, from a cloudy start, it changed to a nice clear blue sky and then within ten minutes, the storm rolled in with little warning and belted us with gale force wind and drenched us with monsoon-like rain. But that ten minute window gave us a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and admire the structure of the giant statue.
The statue itself is 30 meters (98 ft) high, excluding the pedestal, while the arms stretch 28 meters (92 ft) wide. It was mostly made of concrete but the outer layer was made from soapstone. Comparatively to the other six new Wonders of the World, this monument is relatively new – commissioned in 1931.
It is not my intention to debate or argue whether Christ the Redeemer is a deserving entity in the new Seven Wonders of the World, but all I can say is that it is quite an impressive piece of art and engineering. And of course, from the peak of Corcovado Mountain, you can enjoy the stunning views of Rio city!
Date visited: Tuesday, 4th June 2019
Visiting Christ the Redeemer – A Quick Guide
If you are thinking of visiting Christ the Redeemer soon, below is my simple guide on how to get there plus some tips that may help you.
First of all, get your ticket online. Head to the Trem do Corcovado website. This is the official operator of the train (cable tram) service between the foot and peak of Corcovado Mountain. Open an online account (I was looking for a way of not doing this, but it seems like it is a mandatory step to buy tickets online) and buy your tickets. Do NOT fake your email and ID document. They will deliver the voucher link via your email and the ID document is checked at the ticket counter. They have peak and non-peak hours – priced at 79 and 65 Reais respectively. Peak hours apply to weekends, public holidays, Rio Carnival and school holidays, and while off peak are weekdays (Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays).
We went for the first available train at 08:20 am (actually departed at 08:30) to avoid the crowds. Accordingly, if you do not pre-book in advance, walk-in wait time can be up to 2-3 hours (not so true when we visited; could have got the train straight away).
When the day comes, take a taxi or Uber (or whatever transport you prefer) to the Corcovado Train Station. The address is 513 Rua Cosme Velho, Rio de Janeiro. Uber is very common here and super efficient too. We never had to wait more than 5 minutes for the numerous rides we took in Rio. Our journey from Hilton Copacabana Beach took 29 minutes to reach Corcovado train station using Uber.
Your online voucher states that you must arrive 30 minutes before departure. Again, this is not strictly true. We arrived 15 minutes before time and everything worked out well. You also do not need to print the voucher. The ticket office will print a simplified voucher for you to sign and then exchange that with an actual ticket. But what you must do is to bring your ID document and the credit card you used to purchase the ticket. They check these!
Near the ticket counter, there is a screen displaying the weather condition at the peak. If the visibility is bad, you will be given the option to defer your trip (up to 15 days). When we checked-in, it was raining quite heavily with high winds, but we decided to take our chance. When we reached the peak, the weather was kind to us. It changed to clear blue sky, occasionally with light clouds misting the views. It gave us a good 10-15 minutes window before turning back into something very nasty.
Do not hang around the station, just join the train queue. You might get a better seat in the train. The train departs every 30 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to reach the peak (same on the return). The station opens daily, from 08:00 to 19:00.
For the best views, go for the two seaters – on the way up and down! When you arrive at the peak, exit the train as fast as you can, and start climbing the stairs, also as fast as you can. If you get there first, you will get better pictures with less or no people in your picture. There is no time limit once you are up there. You can stay all day if you like.