In terms of touristy things, I had only one goal for this trip – Cristo Redentor. The most iconic sight in Rio was my only must-see outside of all the soccer. After taking it easy yesterday and with a match to watch tomorrow, today was the day. It turned out to be an all day affair.
Let me start by saying this: buy tickets online. You can do that here. If you buy tickets online, you will be given a date and time. Show up at the train station, Trem do Corcavado, and you’re entitled to a 20 minute ride up to Cristo Redentor and back all for 55 BRL. Or you can do what we did.
The schedule didn’t work out for us to purchase online, so first we showed up at the train station around 9:15 AM to try to buy train tickets (20 BRL taxi ride). Instead, we opted to take a van up to what we thought was the summit. Some guys herded us into a van, which just drove us 500 feet to a ticket office where we bought tickets to ride a second van. The cost for that was 25 BRL per person.
After a ten minute wait we took a fifteen minute drive in van 2 up to Paineiras – which isn’t the summit. At Paineiras we had to wait in line for another forty five minutes to buy tickets for van 3 (32 BRL) which was scheduled to take us another ten minutes up to Cristo Redentor itself. By the time we were done buying tickets, we were told we couldn’t line up for van 3 until 12 noon – so that was another hour and change. Geez.
Of course, when we lined up at 12 noon, we waited another forty minutes to get on van 3 and up the mountain – we finally got to the statue at 1 PM! After waiting ten minutes to get served at the restaurant (and being ignored), we decided just to climb the steps up and visit the statue. We spent about a half hour there and then made our way back down. Luckily, the line for van 4 down to Paineiras was only ten minutes and there was no line for van 5 or for taxis at the train station. We somehow made it back to our apartment at 230 PM – at the worst I had mentally prepared myself to get back by 4!
So, was it worth it? I’d say yes…by an eyelash. The statue is an impressive work of art and architecture and the views are amazing. I think I’d probably just recommend going with a tour though; there are tours that will take you to both Corcovado (the mountain Cristo Redentor is on) and Sugarloaf (the other big “view” in Rio) in a day. We ended up paying more than the train ticket and waiting way longer as well, so the train is probably the best bet if you’re going it on your own.
Some random thoughts:
– Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets was on the mountain. He was at the Belgium Russia game, on my friend’s flight from JFK, and spotted again on Corcovado today. I would have LOVED to have meet him, I feel like Brazil is the kind of place where I would have had a chance
– If you’re following me on Twitter, you may have seen that Britney Spears’ boyfriend mooched some food and drinks off of us. There are conflicting accounts amongst our group about how that went down. Regardless – I feel like a guy like that doesn’t need to be getting food and drinks from us – those onion rings are precious man! (Update – Dude isn’t even her boyfriend anymore!)
– Service in general in Brazil seems kind of slow. Not sure if it’s the large number of tourists or if it’s a regular thing.
– McDonald’s chicken nuggets are better here – it’s a seasoning thing.
– Japanese food is not too bad here either. Also everyone thinks I’m Japanese: I thought there was a large Chinese population in Brazil, what gives?
– Still feel very safe here, hasn’t been a problem at all. Figured it was worth an update since we hit a huge tourist site today.
– Don’t feed the monkeys.
Four out of seven of the New Wonders of the World down. Three to go!
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