Monday 17 July 2017

An Excursion To South America: 2. Rio de Janeiro's Top Attractions - Corcovado Mountain & Sugar Loaf Mountain

If you were to ask me whether Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city per se, I will have to say it fails to make it to the list of beautiful cities I have visited. Ironically, I can't say the same of its landscape especially from viewpoints with high altitude. The panorama from these viewpoints are breathtaking and are like postcards come alive. It owes this attribute to its geographic setting: a seafront city bordered by the beautiful Guanabara Bay and South Atlantic Ocean, dotted with hills and mountains and hundreds of islands off its shore so I opine that the allure of the city has pretty much to do with this spectacular mountainous seascape. The best places to savour this panorama are Corcovado Mountain and Sugar Loaf Mountain which are incidentally Rio's top attractions.

Corcovado Mountain
Corcovado Mountain is a must-visit if you are in Rio. There are several options to get to its peak but I guess I didn't have to worry about that. One of the few advantages you get for an all expense paid for tour is everything is arranged for you so you need not worry about not getting tickets, being stranded etc. You also get a competent local guide who knows the place through and through so our visit was totally hassle free.
Our bus dropped us off at Corcovado Train Station in Cosme Velho. We took the electrically powered train that traverse a steep line of 3.8 km up the mountain. A return ticket costs R$46(adult) and R$23(child) which are approximately USD14.50 and USD7.25 respectively. Visiting this place in winter has its advantage. Devoid of huge crowd we could better enjoy our ride.

The 20 minutes ride took us through Tijuca Forest National Park. It was a path where we see a very luxuriant green growth.

The train didn't reach the peak of Corcovado. From where it stopped, reaching the peak is made easy by using the elevator followed by the escalator. It used to be a tedious climb of 220 steps from this point but now the disabled, the old and handicapped will not be deprived of the reward one gets at the peak of the mountain.

It gets quite misty near the peak. Just before the escalator, there is a restaurant with a superb mountain view.
I am not sure how good the restaurant food is but the dining place looks like one where you can float with the clouds.
Right at the peak of Corcovado stands a humongous statue of Christ The Redeemer, a symbol of Catholicism in Brazil. This is Rio's most iconic landmark which can also be seen from many parts of the city. Weighing 635 tonnes, and standing at 98 feet including its 26 feet pedestal, it is said to be the tallest religious statue in the world. This imposing statue has made it to the list of The New 7 Wonders Of The World in 2007. It is almost impossible to be the sole subject of photography with Christ The Redeemer Statue as everyone is clamoring to take photographs with it as the backdrop.

The statue is just but a statue but deemed more attractive to me is the spectacular view you get at the observation deck. By the way Corcovado which stands at 2329 ft is not the tallest mountain in Rio.
The panorama you get from here is to die for. It epitomises the beauty of Rio's coastline, landscape and seascape.
 Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and South Atlantic Ocean are clearly visible.
I was told by my Brazillian guide, Franco that this strip of properties between Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and Ipanema Beach/ South Atlantic Ocean is the most highly-valued in the whole of Rio.
Further left you get to see another of Rio's famous beach, the Copacabana Beach.
Looking eastward, you get to see Sugar Loaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay and a big part of the city.
Having seen enough, we took the same route back to the train station.
This image which is often seen in pictures is not an actual scene one would get from Corcovado Mountain. It is just a huge poster at the entrance of the train station.

Sugar Loaf Mountain
On the same day, we went up Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar). The Cable Car Station is located at Red Beach (Praia Vermelha) and a return cable car ride costing R$80(adult) and R$40(child) will first take you to the peak of a lower mountain called Morro da Urca (722ft asl) before ascending to Sugar Loaf (1644ft asl). 
During the ascent, you can see the whole stretch of Red Beach and General Tiburcia Square from the cable car.
You also get to see the city with its towering sky scrapers.
We alighted at Morro da Urca to savour Rio's view. This mountain makes a great viewpoint over Rio and Guanabara Bay. 
View of Guanabara Bay from Morro da Urca
This is another view of Guanabara Bay from Morro da Urca. We could see Niteroi Bridge that runs across the bay.
We spent quite a lot of time at this lower peak. There are shops, food kiosk and toilet facilities here.

Another View from Morro da Urca
A cable car commuting between Morro da Urca and Sugar Loaf
The Final Ascent To Sugar Loaf
I was quite disappointed when I reached the peak of Sugar Loaf. The mist was so thick, visibility was almost nil. Fortunately I have seen much for the day and something appeared to entertain us. It was some sagui monkeys that have come out in search of food.

Took this photo of General Tiburcio Square at the base before leaving Red Beach.

Related Posts: Click To View
1. Finally In Brazil
2. Rio de Janeiro's Top Attractions: Corcovado Mountain & Sugar Loaf Mountain
3. Rio de Janeiro's Famous Beaches
4. Rio's Top Tourist Hot Spots
5. A Quirky Restaurant In Rio
6Staying in Hilton Rio De Janeiro, Copacabana
7. From Rio To Iguazu Falls
8. The Argentinian Side Of Iguazu Falls
9.The Brazillian Side Of Iguazu Falls
10. Loi Suite Iguazu, A Hotel In A Jungle
11. Getting To Know Lima, Peru. Part I
12. Getting To know Lima, Peru. Part II
13. JW Marriott, Lima Review
14. About Cuzco, Peru
15. A Taste Of Cuzco @ Tunupa Restaurant
16. Cuzco Historical Sites
17. Traversing Sacred Valley
18. The Journey To Machu Picchu
19. Machu Picchu, Peru
20. Staying In Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness
21. Adios Peru, Hola Buenos Aires
22. That Colourful Walk At Caminito, La Boca
23. Buenos Aires Attractions
24. A Boat Tour Of Parana Delta, Tigre
25. El Calafate,
26.The Scenic Drive From El Calafate To Los Glaciares National Park
27. Perito Moreno Glacier From A Boat
31. Things To Do In El Calafate

33. Staying In Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

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