Wednesday, January 26, 2022

[RIO DE JANEIRO] Jesus on the Cliff

I don’t know if it’s just me but getting to Christ the Redeemer statue feels a bit more complicated compared to Sugarloaf Mountain. Or maybe it shouldn’t be. Perhaps it’s the number of options for the van that makes it feel that way? You have to book an official van to get to the top. Where you take the van depends on you. It can be at Praça Lido in Copacabana, in Botafogos or at the entrance of the park itself in Paineiras. All of those three can be reached by Uber but prices will vary by distance.

I decided to board in Copacabana because the van prices do not vary that much anyway. Besides, it might be harder to get an Uber up there, so might as well take advantage of the van leaving and arriving at Avenida Atlántica along the beach. You can buy your return van tickets here: This already includes the admission fee to the attraction. They also sell tickets in tandem with the aquarium, but I wasn’t interested in fish that day.

The trip going up is a bit complicated with lots of zigzags here and there. Unlike Sugarloaf Mountain which relies on cable cars, Christ the Redeemer has its army of official vans. Once you get to Paineiras, you validate your ticket and then you transfer to another official van going up to the statue. Take note that Cristo Redentor is atop a hill where two or three national parks converge, meaning you also have the option to hike the trails if that is your thing. Again, that’s so not my thing especially when I’m alone. So, no thanks.

While the views from the top are much more jaw-dropping than what Pão de Açúcar has to offer, the popularity and, as a consequence, the crowd at Christ the Redeemer made me like it less. After all, it is considered as one of the new wonders of the world, which means getting it alone for yourself is close to impossible, unless you take one of the helicopter tours perhaps. Getting to the top can be done by hiking, through the stairs, or via the elevator and escalator combo. Take your pick.

Once you get to the viewing deck, there is no shade where you can seek refuge if you happen to be there on a sunny or rainy day. Everyone will be shoving and spreading their arms, mimicking the giant statue’s gesture for the perfect selfie. Good luck in getting alone time with Jesus. Since the vantage point is higher, the panoramic view of the city down below is more awesome, but even then, the camwhores will also be blocking your view so good luck with that, too.

Unlike Sugarloaf Mountain which has shops, restaurants, enough shade, and benches for you to rest on, Christ the Redeemer has none, and only has ledges on which you might risk falling off and taking a dive to your death. There is a small chapel under Jesus’ ass which doesn’t seem too popular for the camwhoring crowd. Maybe you can take refuge there and reflect on your sins. Since the sun will be shining from BEHIND the statue, taking a selfie with Jesus facing you in the background can be challenging, unless you have a good camera. The best selfie is with his back behind you, as if gravely disappointed with the motherfucking sinner you turned out to be.

Overall, I spent less than half an hour there before I called it quits. It is spectacular alright, but the combined heat of the sun and the throngs of people were just so much of a hassle for me to bear. Once you get back to Paineiras, you can shop for souvenirs at the tourist center. There’s also a small shop there selling ice cream, drinks, and pão de queijo. Unlike the van trip going up, the wait time for the descent takes longer because there are obviously more people going down from the same access point headed to three different stations down below, unlike going up where there are vans stationed at each of the three stops with just one destination.

I still enjoyed it, but if you just want a panoramic view of the city with less hassle, I suggest just go to Sugarloaf Mountain instead.

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