May 23, 2013 Update:
Ticket purchase rules have changed for the Corcovado. The decree, which purportedly aims at curbing unofficial transportation to the attraction, has forbidden ticket sales at the cogwheel station's booth and also at the certified tourist van stops at Paineiras or at the foot of the Christ the Redeemer Statue. (Only certified vans are allowed all the way to the top of Corcovado and the statue.)
Cogwheel train tickets can be purchased directly at two points: official kiosks at Largo do Machado, in the nearby Laranjeiras district or at the kiosk in Candelária, in central Rio. The same points of sale do offer an admission/van transportation combo.
The measure, which went into effect last Tuesday, reportedly caused a sharp decrease in ticket sales as well as disappointment and frustration among tourists who arrived at the cogwheel station only to find out they couldn't buy their admission tickets there.
According to the latest reports in Rio de Janeiro media, the city administration has announced that it will spread the news about the changes more widely at hotels and in other ways, such as posters in the streets and in taxis.
A visit to the Statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain is one of the best experiences a tourist in Rio de Janeiro can wish for. The view of Rio from the top of Corcovado and the statue itself are well worth the minor inconvenience of waiting in line for the cogwheel train during the high season.
The best up-close views of the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, can elude the visitor on a short stay. The rainforest-covered mountain, which stands at a height of about 2,329 feet, and the 124-foot tall statue are sometimes enveloped by clouds which impair the view of the monument and the city. If you want to get the most out of your visit, pass up the beach on the very first sunny opportunity and join the crowd.
Rio attractions which can be seen from Corcovado include: Sugarloaf Mountain, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Beyond the shimmering Guanabara Bay, visitors can see other mountains in Rio de Janeiro State.
Visits to the Corcovado and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer help make the Tijuca Forest National Park one of the most popular in Brazil. According to ICM Bio, the institute which oversees Brazil's national parks, the Tijuca National Park and Iguaçu National Park account for 90% of the 3,5 million people who visit Brazil's national parks annually.
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer
Long before being voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer atop the Corcovado was considered a major engineering feat. The statue opened on Oct.12, 1931 is in its best shape in years after a restoration concluded in 2010 - which included the clean-up of graffiti done by vandals using the restoration scaffolding.
The historic cogwheel train, opened in 1884 by Emperor Pedro II, is running as efficiently as ever, having been repaired after the Corcovado was ravaged by rains early in 2010. The steep ride through the Tijuca Forest - with the occasional treat of samba groups playing on the cars - is a much better alternative for reaching the top of the mountain than taxis. Even though getting around Rio by taxi is usually safe, the Corcovado is one of the places in Rio where international tourists are more subject to rip-off attempts.
After the cogwheel ride, visitors can reach the Statue of Christ the Redeemer on three panoramic elevators (for 14 people each) and escalators which can transport up to 9,000 people per hour.
The cogwheel station, the train and the Corcovado are wheelchair-accessible.
Rua Cosme Velho 513
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
Tickets: 36 reais round trip. Free for children 5 and younger. One-way cogwheel train ride lasts about 20 minutes. Trains depart every 30 minutes.
More About Corcovado:
Correction: The photo credits had a link applicable to another photo of Christ the Redeemer, taken from the Botanical Garden. That has been removed.