Hiking to Christ the Redeemer
Getting up to the Christ the Redeemer Statue may be accomplished in a several ways. Hiking, if you're up to it, is the most rewarding. The top is 710 meters above sea level and the hike should take any reasonably fit person about an hour and half to finish.
Warning, this hike is not without risk. Normally while hiking a mountain or through the woods you wouldn't expect to be in danger of being mugged or robbed. In Rio this is a different story, the city itself while improving is still a bit dangerous in this way. I was aware of this issue but was assured, by the manager in my hostel, that the hike up shouldn't be a problem. So after a little debate I went ahead and had a great time. Two days later however, two ladies in my hostel attempted the hike and were turned way at the trailhead due to a mugging at gunpoint that had just occurred. So, that being said the risk isn't zero even in 2020, however it's still unlikely, considering the number of people on the trail, that you'll have an issue.
So starting the hike maybe a little tricky. The trailhead is in the back of Parque Lage (a botanical garden that was an old sugar plantation) in the Lagoa district. I was able to get get to the park on the 410 bus from Botafogo. The GPS coordinates for the park entrance are: -22.961248, -43.213108. The trailhead is in the back and opposite corner of the park. The GPS coordinates for the trailhead are: -22.959231, -43.209691.
The park entrance looks like this:
Walk through the park to the back opposite corner and you should find the trailhead. It'll be a little stone house with a guard or two that may ask for your name and passport number. They didn't actually need my passport they just wanted to know who was going to be on the trail. The guard's house looks like this:
Also, you shouldn't need to pay an entrance fee just yet. Once you get up to the statue you'll have to pay an entrance fee of $15 or $30 Reals depending on if it's peak time or not.
After the guard house you'll be on your way and you'll quickly find yourself in some legitimate jungle. There will be waterfalls, snakes, lizards, monkeys and dense foliage along the way. The hike itself should be quite pleasant and a stark change of scenery from the urban hustle and bustle of Rio.
As you get closer to the top the terrain will become steeper. Just keep following the yellow painted footprints.
In one spot the terrain will become steep enough that ladder rungs have been placed in the rock. It's a little slippery so be careful.
Eventually you should reach the tram tracks and you're getting close. The trail continues on the opposite side of the tracks.
Not too long after the tram tracks you'll hit the road. The road is the way up from there. Follow it and you can't miss. Unfortunately the road will be busy with shuttle buses zooming up and down. Your serene jungle hike is over at this point.
After a 10 or 15 minutes up the road you should reach the stairs that lead up to the gate. At the gate you'll pay your entrance fee to access the top.
And that should be it. From the top you'll have an excellent panoramic view of Rio and an opportunity to get lots of selfies with the statue.
But before you go there are a number of things to consider. First is the weather. I was in Rio in February it rained at least half of the days. Second is visibility. the peak on which the statue sits fogs in quite a bit. As the wind blows over the mountain it frequently will turn to cloud. It does this quite a bit even on what you would expect to be a sunny day. Morning or late afternoon might be best the best time to avoid this. Third is sun direction (but only if you're picky about your photography). The statue faces east so that means after noontime the statue and your selfies will be back lit. The fourth thing to consider are the crowds. On a good day, the observation deck will likely be packed with people all trying to get their Instagram shots in.
I made my hike in the morning and this was probably the best choice to beat the issues I listed above. I reached the gate at about 7:30 am however they wouldn't let me in until the official opening at 8:00 am. The first tram will show up about then and the clouds may already be starting to form so get out to the observation deck as soon as you can and get a few shots in. You may be quickly overwhelmed with people and clouded in.