While every tourist, local or international coming into Rio visits Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf mountain, there are enough off the beaten track attractions & activities to indulge in. Claudio Coutinho Hiking Trail is one such attraction that can either be done along with Sugarloaf mountain or on its own.
How to Get There
Where ever you are staying in Rio, just catch the bus heading to Avenida Pasteur. It will drop you close to the trail head. If you are staying at or near Copacabana as most of the tourists do, then take bus no. 581.The trail starts from close to Sugarloaf Mountain Cable car station. It is well marked and is hard to miss.
What to Do & See
As we started on the trail, the ascent was quite steep. After a moment of circumspection we chose to carry on and soon it was an easy hike. After 300m, a separate trail branches off to the top of Morro Da Urca. It is a 900m steep trail and takes about 45 minutes as per the sign board.
We stuck to the main trail which is about 2.5 km long winding around the mountain. We were treated to some amazing views of the Atlantic and the walk was really worth it. There are lot of monkeys (Marmosets) on the way but they generally don’t trouble people as they are used to human presence. There are numerous sign boards on the way that took our time. These sign boards provide details about Flora & fauna in the region along with how Sugarloaf Mountain came into existence. There is a rest area near the beginning of the trail that one can use on the return journey. This hike not only turned out to be absolutely rejuvenating but also provided us a different perspective of Sugarloaf Mountain.
- While on the trail, eat with caution because there are lot of monkeys around
- Relax at Vermelha beach post the hike. It is generally empty and you can have lot of space on the sand.
- As this is a military area, it is safe to use your cameras with gay abandon unlike at many other places in Rio.
This was exactly the kind of half day activity we look for. Something that largely locals do & is off the tourist circuit. Once we came to know that even Brazil Olympic athletes use this trail for their training, our decision to invest half a day was vindicated.