At monday (Xenia´s birthday) we went out early to avoid the crowded time on Corcovado and check if Cristo Redentor is still fine. So we took the ferry to Rio, walked to the Carioca station of the „Bonde“ and around 10 am we went up to Santa Teresa again. There, at „Largo dos Guimaraes“, it should be possible to take a bus up to the national park „Tijuca“. We asked a guy in he newspaper-shop if there´s a bus up to Corcovado, he just said „There is no bus.“ Of course after 4 weeks in brasil we know that asking anybody isn´t the best way to get useful information, so we just waited. After 10 mins the bus „007“ to „Silvestre“ arrived and the driver said „Corcovado? Sim.“ We paid 3,80 R$ each, sat down and enjoyed the ride up the mountains, ending at the gate to the national park.
The guard told us (written on his hand) the 2 options to get to Cristo:
1: walk up approx. 5 kms
2.: take the shuttlebus for 30 R$ each.
Because it was already 30 degrees we decided to take the shuttle, got in, drove (or better raced) up and after we got out of the bus at the visitor-center a guy wanted to get the 60 R$ for the ride. CASH ONLY! We were confused , because even on streetmarkets, when you buy nice pasteis or caipirinha, you can pay by card, almost like in Sweden! So after some discussion (of course there´s no ATM at the visitor-center) he let us go (we told him he should have told us before) and we went to the ticket counter.
There you get a piece of paper with a number, go to the counter, buy your ticket (38 R$ each, CARDS ONLY) and at the time written on your ticket, you have to be at the shuttlebus to the top of Corcovado (thats what the tourist-information told us). We found out that all the people in the souvenirshop were standing in the queue to the shuttle, so we went there ,asked a guy and he told us „come back in 10 mins“. After 10 mins he told us „come back in 5 mins“. After 5 mins we passed a gate and the rest following was like this:
1. go though the first gate and wait in a queue to get your ticket read.(20 mins) in the sun.
2. wait in another queue to get through the metal-detector. (10 mins) in the sun.
3.go though the metal-detector and wait for the number on your ticket to get to the shuttlebus. (1,5h) In the sun. Without toilet, Together with 250 other people, supplied by 1 girl in a foodtruck with chips and water..
4.Pass though another gate with the number on your ticket, then wait in another queue for getting into the shuttlebus. (25 mins) In the sun.
So after approx. 2,5h after waiting in the burning sun (even in brazilian winter) you can jump into the shuttlebus, drive 5 mins up the the top of the mountain, get out, first way to the snackbar, and what do they tell you? CASH ONLY! The souvenirshop directly next to it took VISA/MASTERCARD somehow -.-
We found some Reais in our pockets, got some water and food, and walked the last stairs up, already seeing the back of the biggest Art-Deco-statue of the world. And what can we say:
THE VIEW IS JUST AMAZING!!!!!
Although it was not perfectly clear this day you could see Niteroi, from Rio´s harbour to the sugarloaf, Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon to Rocinha, the biggest and (now) one of the safe favelas in Rio…
Everything from a bird´s-view. Very impressive! After we took some selfies and tried to get nice shots (although it was really crowded up there) we went down by bus again (there´s also a train, but you have to pay extra if you came up by bus and want to go down by train) and, because we saw on a map there are some trails down to the city, we asked at the info-point where to enter this 2,5km-walkway through the jungle. The first answer was „there is no way to walk“. After we showed her a picture of the map 5 meters next to her office she said „Oh,yes, there is a trail, but you have to start at the top again, the part between visitors-center and top is closed while olympic games.“
So if you are at the top: there´s no map of the paths/trails.
And if you are at the visitors-center: there´s a map, but you have to get to the top first 😮
The queues were still full and we´d have to buy new tickets, so we decided to go down by bus. But hey, that´s only possible if you came up and payed! Taxis are not allowed, the trail is closed so the only option is to walk down the road with shuttlebusses flying nearby till we´d be at a cabstation -.-
Fortunately, after 2 kms we met an italian guy, who was taking a cab to Santa Teresa, we jumped in and got out at the lovely „Cafecito“ again. Time for cake and coffee!!
So: After all, the view is worth it, but AGAIN: organizing things with common sense is obviously very hard in brazil, even if it´s „one of the seven new wonders of the world“.
And that almost nobody spoke english is not even mentioned 😉
If you want to avoid most of this:
- Be at one of the entrance points to the park at 8.30 am LATEST. Visitorscenter opens at 9.00 am.
- Take cash AND card with you.
- Take the trail from „Parque Lage“(next to botanic garden) if you want to safe the money for the shuttle/train. Turn to the right side of the main house of the parque, walk along the path (follow the signs „Trilha“and when you get up you´ll see some stairs going to the right. At the end of the path you´llfind a guardhouse to sign in, latest to enter the trail is 3.30 pm. Monkeys and a lot of birds are guaranteed, snakes are more scared of you than you are of them 😉 VERY STEEP PARTS!!
- We found out later that on the outside of the ticketoffice, there´s a little machine for self-service ticket-purchase.
- Or book a complete Rio-Tour of one of the many providers in town, you´ll get driven up, get a special „fast-lane“ and be in and out quick… Of course this service has it´s price…