This hike is perfect if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to see Rio de Janeiro from a different angle. Catacumba Park is also a great choice if you are looking for something less touristy than the Sugarloaf or Christ. Just next to the Lagoa, the Catacumba Park can be easily reached from Ipanema and Copacabana. It used to be home to the Favela da Catacumba, demolished in 1970. The hike itself is short and easy and includes a walk through a beautiful sculpture scenery.
|Duration: 40 minutes up and down
Distance: 700 m
When to hike: The park opens Tuesdays – Sundays from 9.00am – 5.00pm.
What to bring: Hiking boots/trainers, comfortable clothing, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, you might want to bring food and drinks for a picnic.
How to get to Catacumba Park
The hike starts at the Catacumba Park, Avenida Epitácio Pessoa 3000. No matter if you are starting from Ipanema or Copacabana, you might even walk there. However, there’s a parking lot almost in front of the park and a cab won’t cost you much, either. You can also take the bus:
From Copacabana (Rua Tonelero): 441, 473
From Ipanema: 461
A major plus for the Catacumba Park hike is that it’s a round trip. It doesn’t really matter which way you go but we’d like to suggest the following route:
When entering the Catacumba Park, there’s a small information point at the right but you don’t really need to know much to find your way. Just head up the stone stairs towards the left of the entrance, and you’ll reach a small but pretty cool sculpture park with lots of beautiful surprises along the way.
You might want to slow down as there’s plenty to watch. Soon you’ll reach a junction with more stairs going up to the left. Follow the stairs and after a few meters you’ll see a sign for the Catacumba Park Hike. The whole path is very well marked and easy to hike. Only right before reaching the top, there are a few steps that are a bit narrow, but it’s really no big deal.
After around 15 minutes, you’ll reach another small junction where you need to go up a few stairs to the left to reach the first viewpoint. Here you’ll have a great view over the Lagoa, Dois Irmãos and the islands in front of Ipanema. It’s actually quite nice because you’re a lot closer to everything than when looking down from Christ the Redeemer or Dois Irmãos. There’s a small platform, so you might want to take some time to enjoy the view, have a picnic and study the information boards with explanations of the history of the Lagoa.
When going back to the junction, follow the path instead of heading back down. After a few minutes, you’ll reach some steps going up to your left, you can’t miss them. The steps lead to a second platform from where you can see Christ the Redeemer (should He not be covered by clouds…). When going back on the main path you just have to continue until you reach the sculpture collection of Catacumba Park again. The advantage of going to the Dois Irmãos viewpoint first and continuing to the Christ the Redeemer platform afterwards is that you walk the narrow steps up and not down. But you can really do it either way.
After hiking in the Catacumba Park, you might want to go to the Lagoa to have drinks at the Palaphita Kitch and watch the sunset in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a ten minutes walk towards Ipanema.