The Rio we all imagine—Christ the Redeemer statue towering protectively over a green and blue mosaic surrounding a sprawling beach metropolis—is actually more interesting than the tantalizing photographs reveal. The building of a giant Jesus statue on Corcovado mountain was a project aimed to “save” residents from the sinful path of non-religious life, and Copacabana’s famed leisure beach was once a strategic military stronghold of the new Brazilian Republic. On this 4-hour Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer tour, we'll discover the hidden stories behind Rio’s top tourist attractions.
Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer Tour
Our walk begins with a visit to Brazil’s most visited tourist attraction and one of the seven wonders of the modern world: Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain. Today we could scarcely imagine Rio without this 100-foot monolith viewable from every corner of the city, but the story of its construction is equally dramatic and involved the powerful hands of many offices and key players. To reach the mountain peak, we will ride through the largest urban forest in the world on the first tourist train built in the Americas. This train is older than the Christ statue itself; this technology made the statue's construction possible. Our docent will discuss the power plays and history surrounding this mountain, from age of the Portuguese Empire to the dawning of the Brazilian Republic and on until today.
After we’ve laid the framework for the discourse, we continue our discussion with a walk through the neighborhood of Cosme Velho. We will stop at the once-renowned Largo de Boticario and learn about the elite of Rio’s golden era and why they settled in this area of the city, which at the time was little more than a rural extension of the capital. Today the picture of Cosme Velho is much different and through some urban investigation we will piece together the various dramas that have resulted in a slow decline of the square.
Copacabana - More than a Beach
We will continue exploring how power shaped the city as we grab a taxi past the historical Lagoa Rodrigo de Feitas, a lagoon once inhabited by native Brazilians but brutally disposed of to make way for the Empire. We will then find ourselves on one of the world’s greatest postcard beaches: Copacabana. Like Corcovado and Lagoa, this favorite leisure spot has a history fraught with drama and struggles for territory. The massive hotels and condos forming the skyline are a relatively new phenomenon, so we will peel back the layers of Copacabana’s history with a stroll past the last vestiges of the former fishing industry before continuing on to Forte Copacabana. It was at this location where the beach received its name from a chapel dedicated to a Bolivian saint “Copacawana,” and later where the Republic claimed the area for a defense fort. We will enter this fort and look at the political motives for this move. With a short climb to the roof where the canons are mounted, we will conclude our walk with a breathtaking panorama encompassing the entire beach-lined coast of Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon
This walk leaves us with not just a thrilling look at the major Rio highlights, but also an enriching discourse about the creation of these iconic landmarks. If you have limited time in Rio, this is an excellent walk choice. We can also turn this walk into a full-day Rio de Janeiro Private Tour
with the addition of lunch and entry to Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) or another Rio Walking Tour
Does this walk "skip the line"?
Yes, we use a reserved, timed entry to bypass the ticket line at the entrance.
Will we have an exclusive entrance to Corcovado?
Despite using pre-paid ticketing and "skipping the line," it does not alleviate the biggest difficulty in visiting Corcovado: the crowds. Corcovado administration does not offer any exclusive visitation packages, so the most important consideration to avoid crowds is timing your visit to avoid large tour groups. We schedule our walks to find the best conditions for your visit.
What happens if we book our visit to Corcovado and the weather is unfavorable?
Corcovado is a site that depends heavily on weather conditions. We do our best to organize the walk in a way to offer best visibility on Corcovado, and our walk will run rain or shine. If you've booked a private walk, we may be able to reschedule the walk for a day with more favorable weather conditions, but there would be a reschedule fee on the tickets imposed by Corcovado authorities.
Why does this walk start at 8am?
Corcovado often has a large crowd. We have found that the best time to avoid the crowd is to go as soon as they open. If 8am is too early for you and you are booking a private walk, please write your desired time in the notes section during checkout and we will try to accommodate your request, depending on docent and ticket availability.