I loved my time in Brazil. I got to see the Amazon Rainforest, Iguassu Falls, and spent some amazing time in Rio de Janeiro. However, arguably the main attraction in the city is Christ the Redeemer, and I found myself to be very disappointed with the whole experience of what is supposed to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa. It is 98ft tall, not including its pedestal, and its arms stretch 92ft wide. I am told the statue weighs 635 metric tons and is located at the peak of the 2,300ft Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio – the journey on the Corcovado Tram is a highlight in itself and arguably more spectacular than the statue itself.
As a symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931. There is no denying the statue is also a symbol of Rio de Janeiro too, but as a tourist I cannot understand why it is so popular to visit.
You can see the statue of Christ from pretty much anywhere in Rio, even from other major tourist attractions such as Sugarloaf Mountain, most of the beaches, or the Tijuca Forest (TIP: a twilight hike through the forest will give you an amazing view of the statue in the distance among the stars). One thing Christ the Redeemer must be great for, however, is for the early admission sunrise tour. I did not book this experience myself, but I have heard stories from those who have, and it seems like it’s recommended!
There are 200 steps leading from the base of the mountain to the feet of Christ himself, but you have to contend with so many people (including journalists and even wedding ceremonies in the chapel – I bet that’s not cheap to have a wedding “inside” Jesus!) that at times I wished I had just admired things from afar.
The views from the top of Christ the Redeemer are sensational, but you can get better views from Sugarloaf Mountain, in my opinion (not everybody will agree). A lot of downtown Rio below (and the Leblon neighbourhood) seems to be in the shade in the afternoon, due to the positioning of the sun, but there are great views out to sea regardless of the time of your visit.
I took the 583 Bus from Jardim Botanico, which includes Christ the Redeemer on its route, which also includes a passing of Copacabana Beach, so you could theoretically do these 3 wondrous attractions in the same day with ease!