This mountain rising out of the city center is most well known as the home of Rio’s iconic skyscraper-sized Jesus statue.
Corcovado, which means “hunchback” in Portuguese, is a mountain in the Tijuca National Park in central Rio. The mountain offers three attractions in the one place. Although the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue may be the highlight, you can also see the world’s largest urban forest that is Tijuca National Park, and experience a scenic journey on the historic Corcovado Train, the country’s oldest tourist attraction.
Corcovado’s Train dates back to 1884 and originally used a steam engine to traverse 12,545 feet (3,824 meters) of steep terrain. The rail system upgraded to electric train cars in the early 1900s in conjunction with a reforestation effort in Tijuca National Park. The railway outdates Brazil’s famous statue and carried segments of the statue up the mountain during construction. After 20 minutes riding in modernized train cars, enjoy the breeze within the shadow of Cristo Redentor’s outstretched arms.
One of the “New Seven Wonders of the World,” the reinforced concrete and soapstone statue began to take shape in 1922. Construction lasted nine years and the majority of funding came from Brazil’s Catholic residents. The statue stands 125 feet (38 meters) tall with an arm span of 92 feet (28 meters). This attraction draws 300,000 tourists annually and requires periodic restoration and enhancements. Recent additions feature escalators, elevators and a cathedral for baptisms and weddings.
As well as using the Corcovado Train, you can access the mountain peak by car or bus. You may have a significant wait during the train’s peak hours, but it remains the recommended mode of transportation as it takes you directly and reliably to the base of the statue. Avoid driving up the mountain. You pay an extra fee per person and per car and usually encounter poor driving and parking conditions.