Did you know you can hike up to the famous Vista Chinesa of Rio de Janeiro? Many people think the only way up to Vista Chinesa, Chinese View in English, is to walk or drive up the main road. However, there is actually a hidden hike up to this amazing viewpoint. The hike takes an easy start in a park close to Gávea and ends with a steep part in the jungle.
|Duration: 40-60 min up
Distance: 2700 meters
Height: 380 m
When to hike: All year, except if it has been raining the previous days.
What to bring: Hiking boots/Trainers, comfortable clothing, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, some snack and water.
How to get to Vista Chinesa
The hike starts inside the little-known city park called Parque da Cidade near Gávea. The best way to get there is by taxi or car. If you go by taxi just tell the taxi driver that you want to go to Parque da Cidade in Gávea and he will drive you to the entrance of the park, it’s only a 5-10 minutes drive from Ipanema. If you decide to go by car, use GPS and type in “Parque da Cidade” or “Estrada Santa Marinha”, Gávea, which is the road that takes you to the entrance of Parque da Cidade. See map below for further information.
When you get to the entrance of “Parque da Cidade” you need to follow the road for a few minutes and then you will see a sign on your right showing where to find the “trilha”, the hike. From here you decide if you want to start the hike or if you would like to explore the park a bit more before starting the hike up to Vista Chinesa.
The park was built in the 1940s and it nudges itself up against the edge of Tijuca Park. There used to be a museum here called “Historico da Cidade” but sadly it has been closed down. Still, the park itself is a nice place to spend some time and bring kids to let them play and have fun in the well-kept gardens. The grounds are ideal for picnics and offer stunning views for pictures.
The first part of the hike is covered of cobble stones and after some minutes of hiking on cobble stones you will get into a dirt road that leads. Usually you will see monkeys on this part of the hike.
After about 20 minutes of hiking on the dirt road, you will get to a hidden path on your right-hand side. Watch out for this one because it can be a bit hard to see. The path is located just in the middle of a sign saying “proibido” and a yellow house. So if you get to some houses you will need to go back.
After going into the small path up to the right, you will get to a yellow house on your left-hand side, that means you’re on the right track. From here, the trail starts going up quite a bit, and will keep doing so until you reach the top of Vista Chinesa. You can really feel that you are inside the jungle while you are hiking this part, the track is sheltered and covered by trees all over. But watch out for bikers! Some people are using this trail to go bicycling down.
After about 20 minutes of steep hiking, the trail ends and you will get to the main road (there’s not much traffic here). From here you have to turn left and you will be able to see a Chinese-style pagoda which marks the Vista Chinesa. The view you get from here is absolutely spectacular, it’s no wonder that so many tourist companies stop by this place.
The name Vista Chinesa is given from the Chinese immigrants that came to settle in Rio de Janeiro early in the 19th century to start their tea plantation. Nowadays it’s a famous spot for tourists to take pictures of the “Marvelous City”.
From here you will be able to see all the famous tourist attractions of Rio De Janeiro, as Cristo Redentor, Baia de Guanabara, Pão de Açucar, Lagoa, Arpoador, Ipanema Beach, Leblon, the Cagarras Islands and Dois Irmaos.
On your way down you can either take the same trail down or follow the main road that takes you down to the neighborhood of Jardim Botanico. If you take the main road, you will get to a nice and cozy street where you find some good restaurants for lunch. It’s also easy to grab a cab from here.