A painted map of Rio de Janeiro in cartoonish style, with Christ the Redeemer rising from the middle of it.
Map of Rio featuring Christ the Redeemer

When is the best time to visit Christ the Redeemer in Brazil?

Table of Contents

Introduction

Visiting Christ The Redeemer in Brazil is a bucket list item for most travellers. It is Rio’s, and arguably Brazil’s, most famous attraction, but figuring out the best time to visit Christ the Redeemer can be a bit of a challenge!

During our visit, it was the main thing we dreamed about seeing, so naturally, when we went… it was a total disaster! It turns out, it’s really difficult to have a perfect, cloudless shot of Christ the Redeemer. It’s up in the mountains so 9 times out of 10, the clouds just don’t co-operate. No surprise then, that’s what happened to us. The statue was in full cloud, there were still a million people there, and we got zero footage at all. Disaster!

It’s actually very common to get the statue in full cloud, because of its positioning, and you have to plan your visit to Christ the Redeemer quite well to avoid this. Weirdly enough, we didn’t find much information about this before we went, but it’s actually not too hard to do so, it just takes a little forward planning!

So we wrote this to help you avoid being like us and make the most of your visit.

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Here are a few useful pieces of information before we get started.

Safety in Rio de Janeiro

So, first thing’s first – everyone is going to tell you Rio is extremely dangerous for tourists, almost to the extent that you shouldn’t even walk around anywhere on your own. We’re not going to comment on the safety of the favelas or specific areas. Nor can we comment on Rio as a solo female traveller or any other demographic besides our own.

However as a group of four travellers (various races and mixed genders, but all pretty obviously English-speaking tourists), we did not ever feel very unsafe in the main tourist areas or on public transport.

As in any major city, keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in busy areas. Trust your gut if something feels unsafe (and leave), and do not walk around unfamiliar areas at night.

That being said, you should always have great travel insurance!

Travel insurance for Rio de Janeiro

Everyone hopes to have a smooth trip, but the truth is that things do go wrong when we travel. That’s why I personally think it’s really important to have great travel insurance, especially when you’re going to areas which might typically be considered dangerous.

We use SafetyWing for our travel insurance and we really like them. They’re extremely straightforward to use and their policy wording is very clear. They are pretty affordable, and if you need to add on things like electronics cover or adventure sports, you can do it really easily. They’ll even allow you to buy and start your policy if you’re already travelling, which I love!

Check prices for your trip with their calculator here.

How to get to Christ The Redeemer in Brazil

In Rio, you have a few options of public transport:

Metro – generally considered to be very safe and easy. However it is not a great idea for Christ The Redeemer, since the closest metro stop is still a 40 minute walk away from the base

Bus – not generally considered very safe or accessible, particularly to non-Portuguese speaking tourists

Bike – Rio is considered a great city to cycle in and you can even book a tour through GetYourGuide

Uber – this was the option we took to Christ the Redeemer, not least because it was extremely easy. If you want to make this a more eco-friendly option, there are Uber Green cars available. You can also try a shared ride

A shot of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil from below. It is a very cloudy day but the sun has burned through and is shining above the statue. There is rainforest in the foreground.
The best view we got all day – don’t be like us!

Accessing the summit of Christ The Redeemer

As is commonly known, you have two options to get to the Christ The Redeemer statue itself, walking or train.

Walking

Time-wise, we didn’t have the option of walking. Honestly, having seen the path up to Christ The Redeemer, I’m actually not sure we would have chosen this option even if we had more time, though we were quite keen to do it before we saw it. This is mainly because the path is just a road (clearly marked and paved with tarmac) which runs through the forest up the mountain. It didn’t look much fun to hike, it actually seemed pretty boring!

There weren’t really any views for a lot of the walk as far as we could see. The views you did get were very similar to those at the top. We heard reports of thieves/bandits on the trail, especially with regard to smaller groups or solo hikers, so we would definitely advise proceeding with caution and refer to our safety section above.

Though of course I am not basing this on our own experience, my opinion would be that this would be fine in a larger group or later in the day, as the path is quite visible from the train and fairly open. Of course I’d suggest leaving valuables behind if you picked this option.

The Train

This was the option we picked and we didn’t regret it at all! It’s really easy and goes from Corcovado train station. This is easy to find, since it’s pretty much marked as the entrance to Christ the Redeemer and it’s where the Ubers will drop you. The queues/crowds are really intense, so we highly recommend buying the skip the line ticket – this link takes you to the same Viator tour where we got ours. Genuinely, we have never been so smug as we were walking past all those lines and lines of people and can’t recommend this highly enough!

Insider tip: bag a window seat on the right-hand side of the train (facing forward) on the ascent and the left-hand side of the train (facing forward) going back down. This way you’ll get views on the way up and down!

Views of the islands on the way up to Christ the Redeemer on the train There are clouds, which show that we did not pick the best time to visit Christ the Redeemer.
Views from the train

Best time to visit Christ The Redeemer

Great news for the night owls, this is somewhere it really does not pay to show up early! The crowds are actually at their heaviest when the site opens (at 8am), so it is best to avoid this time altogether. We’ve seen tips recommending to go around 12pm when many people might be having lunch and this could be a good idea, though honestly there seem to be few times when it isn’t busy.

Our main tip for visiting would be: go on a weekday, not on the weekend.

Our other absolute must for Christ The Redeemer is: plan a few days in Rio.

Being a city nestled in the mountains, weather in Rio is extremely unpredictable, and you are likely to be there on a cloudy or rainy day. This is the one thing we wish we had known before visiting, as we ended up visiting on a cloudy day ourselves, and we could not see a thing. Let alone views of the city, we couldn’t even see the top of the statue.

Give yourself plenty of time (at least 3 days) so if it doesn’t work out on day one, you can always try again another, sunnier day. If you do end up with only cloudy days, try to aim for midday, as it’s your best chance at having the sun break through and getting the views.

Additionally, unfortunately, there will like be a few crowds and other people whenever you go, so again, we really do recommend the Skip The Line tickets, to avoid this issue. They were the thing that made the whole trip feel more ‘worth it’ for us.

If you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro, why not combine it with a visit to Sao Paulo?

Other things to do in Rio de Janeiro:

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Recap of our top tips!

  • Purchase skip the line tickets here
  • Avoid visiting on weekends
  • Stay a few days in Rio so you can aim for a sunny day visit if possible
  • Visit around midday to avoid the early morning crowds (but note: it’s always busy!) and have the best chance of fewer clouds
  • If hiking, leave your valuables behind and go in a group
  • If taking the train, sit on the right (forward facing) on the way up and the left on the way down for the best views

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    Written by Emma

    Emma

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