There is no place in Rio that can compare to the sites from these two points. From the top of the 533 metre mountain, visitors will be mesmerized by a fabulous 360 scenic view of the south of the city. On one side you see Rochina, Sao Corado and the Tijuca Forest, on the other you see (Leblon, Ipanema, Lagoa, Christ), the Vidigal, Cagarras Islands, Niteroi City and the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean. In turn, descend on foot through the favela of Vidigal. The complete route takes around 4 ½ hours. The trail is about 1.6 km long.
What is it?
Even if you've never been to Brazil, chances are you will recognise Dois Irmaoes. The beautiful pair of mountains, situated at the end of Leblon beach, make up one of Rio's most iconic views. The trail to the top of the Irmao Maior (Bigger Brother) is surprisingly easy-going, depending on your pace and how long you spend at the top, this walk will take most people around 4 hours.
Walk up through Vidigal favela (pacified and safe) until you reach the trail. Then walk up the jungle path up the mountain until you reach the peak. People who are into serious trekking will find this walk very easy, while people who arn't into long walks might feel that this sounds seriously challenging. Either way, to both groups I would say “Go for the views!”-they are truly spectacular.
How to get there?
The first step is to get to Vidigal, a favela situated between the neighbourhoods of Leblon and Sao Conrado. This is a convenient starting point given its proximity to most places in Zona Sul. Depending on your exact location, the taxi ride shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
Taxis cannot enter Vidigal, so you will be dropped at the entrance. The trail begins at the top of the favela where the houses and buildings stop. You have 2 options to get there:
•Motor-taxi: At the bottom of the hill you will see many guys with motorbikes hanging around the main entrance of the favela who will take you to the top. For the adventurous type-dodging in and out of the traffic at break neck-speeds is seriously exciting. For the more queasy folk, I suggest the second alternative.
• Van: For R$2.50 these old mini vans will take you to the top of the favela. Explain to the driver the exact point of destination and he will tell you where to get off. Pick up a van from just around the first corner once you arrive at the bottom of the favela.
This is not a long walk- depending on the rhythm of the group. With that in mind, check what time it gets dark as most would rather avoid walking in the dark. That said, the views at sunrise and sunset are glorious. To take in these excellent views, bring a torch as part of this route requires hiking or descending the mountain in pitch black.
Good to know
Besides the contact with nature and panoramic views, the trail also involves energy expenditure and some slips. Besides the obligatory camera, the following is advised:
• Light clothes that give you mobility
• Steady trainers or hiking boots
• Bottled water (1L): essential for hydration
• Fruit, a cereal bar or chocolate to restore energy
• A smile
The trail will be rewarded with the most spectacular view of the Cidade Marvilhosa.