If you've ever seen a friend's photos from Rio de Janeiro you'll already know that it's almost right of passage for tourists to make a trip to the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) and stretch their arms out wide to mimic the statue of Jesus for a photo. And why wouldn't you want a happy snap with one of the New Seven Wonders of the World?
Along with the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China, the 98 feet high Christ the Redeemer Statue is one of the world's great modern engineering feats. As impressive as it is iconic, the statue first opened in 1931 and today is in as great a shape as ever thanks to R$7 million restoration that repaired the statue from rain and lightening damage.
Towering 2,326 feet above Rio de Janeiro, getting to the top of Rio's Corcovado Mountain is as much a thrill as being at the summit. Of the three ways to reach the top, the twenty-minute ride on the historic cogwheel train is the most popular way to ascend. First opened in 1884, the steep ride takes you through the Tijuca Forest and offers you the occasional treat of samba groups playing on the cars. Following the cogwheel trip, to reach the statue itself your next journey is abroad perhaps the most panoramic elevators in the world.
Though also accessible by taxi, a two-hour climb from Santa Teresa is perhaps the most memorable way to ascend. Take the pathway or for more of a brush with daily Cariocan life, follow the main road past the favelas taking in glimpses down to Sugar Loaf and beyond. Once at the monument, you are met with sweeping views right across Rio de Janeiro and out over Guanabara Bay. It's a great debate whether Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain have better views but both are just as essential vantage points of one of the prettiest cities in the world.