Tips for Visiting Christ the Redeemer

On our first full day in Rio, I woke up early, quickly made my way through breakfast, and asked our receptionist how the conditions for Christ the Redeemer were. Our hostel let us in on the not-so-secret-secret that there’s a website with a live video stream of Christ the Redeemer and the view from the top. The receptionist gave us the go ahead – skies are clear! You can see Jesus!

Thing is, weather in Rio can change in literally seconds. This was our view just half an hour after looking at the crystal clear live stream from the hostel.

This “Wonder of the World”, 1 of only 7, is supposed to be a wonder not because of the statue of Jesus himself (which is not even that tall or impressive!), but because of the sweeping panoramic views of Rio from the top of Corcovado, the mountain where he stands.

M and I were up there for almost 2 hours waiting for the clouds to clear – and they did for one tiny, miraculous second – but our trip to this wonder was overall a disappointment. Here's what I wish I would've known.

1. Visit Christ on a day when the forecast is 100% sunny. On the day we went, it was “partly cloudy”, which means that you might not get a good chance to see the city. Rio's weather is just too fickle. One moment, the skies are clear, the next they’re cloudy.

2. Go first thing in the morning or in the afternoon. It’s not even that many people, but the area to stand and move around is small, so it gets crammed. Our hostel friends went the next day at 3pm, and they said it was barely crowded. We went in the morning (but not first thing) and there were hordes of people. See below.

One thing we did right was taking a bus from the Largo de Machado subway station. When you get out of the station, we walked towards the large white church on the west side of the square. From there, buses departed to the top, and our 52R ticket included a round-trip on the bus as well as the entrance to the monument. 52R! That’s only $20 to see one of the wonders of the world. What a steal.

Some people also take the tram up, but we heard that it was nothing special, since you’re just going up surrounded in jungle (same as on the bus). The lines for the tram were also absolutely insane. Pretty happy we decided against that.

Walking down from the statue to the bus loading, we came upon our first Brazilian monkey. There were three of them bounding around on the trees, but one person managed to lure this guy out and I was lucky enough to snap this shot of it. Good thing he wasn't camera shy!

Also, if you decide to take the bus, there’s this delicious restaurant right inside the “Condor” Mall a few steps from the Largo de Machado subway stop. 

It’s called Rotisseria Sírio Libanesa, and I have no idea what we ordered, but we pointed at the triangle patties and said “queijo” which means cheese. This place was so good we ate here twice, and the servers were very kind and understanding. of our inability to speak their language. 

Although the view from the top of Corcovado was a view into fog and clouds, it only motivates me more to come back to this wonderful city and try again (this time taking my own advice of going on a sunny day in the late afternoon!). 

I'll be back again, Jesus. This is one city that I can visit over, and over, and over again and never get bored of. Guess that's what it's like to be in love. :)