And it’s back to Rio for round two! We were here for New Years Eve along with the rest of the world – okay, not really but Rio was very busy and therefore we decided to leave and come back later to do the “touristy things.” This time our priority was not to party like New Years but focus on ticking a few things off of the bucket list.
Two Brothers Hike to Sunrise
We were lucky enough to speak to the company Hike to Sunrise on Instagram before returning to Rio and learned about a guided tour up the Two Brothers mountain to have the best view of Rio’s sunrise. We had been planning on doing this hike anyways but the thought of doing it at sunrise never crossed our minds.
It turned out to be awesome! Such a great way to hike because of a couple reasons: 1) the hike is all uphill and doing it in the dark is a lot cooler than in the afternoon sun and heat, 2) you must walk through a favela to get to the mountain so doing this alone at night isn’t particularly safe so the guided tour is great 3) the guide tells you all about Rio and the favela on the way down. We would definitely recommend Hike to Sunrise as a “must do” while in Rio to anybody!
Sugarloaf mountain is another popular viewpoint of Rio. I believe you can hike this mountain (or at least half of it) but we opted to take the cable car as it seemed really fun. The cable car is R$76 each or half price if you have a student card. This gets you to the top of the mountain in two separate cable car rides as well as back down.
We wanted to go for sunset but had read online that it can be very busy at this time and you can spend hours in line waiting to get into the cable car. With this fear, we left two hours before sunset and there was no line at all. We had to wait at the top of the mountain for a while but there are shops and restaurants so it went by quickly. We got the most amazing view of the sunset and it wasn’t even that busy.
Christ the Redeemer
Now we weren’t particularly exited to see the Christo. I know what you’re thinking, “they are crazy, it’s one of the seven wonders of the world, it’s the symbol of Rio!” It’s just a big statue that we knew was going to literally be mental with tourists; but we had to go anyway, we weren’t going to be those tourists that went all the way to Rio and didn’t see the Christo.
We heard that a van up the mountain will cost you somewhere around R$80 and we weren’t willing to pay that for something we weren’t even that excited to see, so we decided to hike. Rumour had it that it was a tough hike and that was true. It took us about 1.5 hrs in the humid summer heat of Rio (you must hike during daylight hours only.) The trail was clearly marked and not very busy but it was all steep and uphill.
The hike costs nothing but you must pay R$26 at the top to enter the actual viewing platform. You must have cash or you won’t get in. The hike starts at Parque Lage in the back right corner and a ranger will register you before you start. There is no drinking water along the trail so bring plenty (1.5 litres per person) and good shoes such as hiking shoes or runners.
The viewing platform was just as expected – extremely busy. Vans packed with tourists unloaded and you could barely walk around the platform. People were laying on the ground trying to get a good angle for a photo of the Christo (it’s actually quite funny walking around and over all of these people laying on the concrete with cameras.) Overall, I’m glad we did it and I am glad we hiked to save a bit of money, but I wouldn’t do it again that’s for sure.
The botanical gardens in Rio. I love visiting botanical gardens in different cities, Daniel doesn’t but comes along for a few good photo ops anyways. The gardens are near Botafogo (where our hostel was) are quite cheap at only R$14 for an entire day (half price for students.)
We had a nice walk around the park and saw some monkeys. After we walked around the neighbourhood a bit and since it was a Sunday afternoon many people we out having lunch. There was also antique flea markets to check out which were neat. It made for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
That was the end of Rio this time as we booked a flight to the Northeastern city of Fortaleza. But round three for Rio is already booked for the world famous CARNIVAL!