Dos Irmaos Hike in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Situated above the world famous Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, the Dois Irmaos hike is one for the books. The Dois Irmaos, or the Two Brothers, are the famous double mountains you can see looking down the Rio coastline, lying between the areas of Leblon and Sao Conrado. Not only are the views amazing (looking out onto the ocean and almost all of Rio) but you also take a thrilling moto taxi ride through the favela of Vidigal on the way up. For those of you who don’t know, favelas are the slums in Rio. They are known as being hazardous, but nonetheless full of culture and amazing energy.
To begin the hike, start near Ipanema Beach. We first took a taxi to the bottom of the favela of Vidigal (very close to the Sheraton in Leblon for a point of interest.) We found taxis to be a better option verse a bus since we had four people going on the hike. Once we reached the bottom of the favela we saw several young men stationed on their mototaxis. Although their main purpose is to bring people up and down who live in the favela, they’re aware people also need to take the mototaxis up for the hike. Having a Portuguese speaker with us was very helpful for negations, but it can be easily communicated without. We ended up paying 5 Real per person, per mototaxi for the ten-minute ride up and through the favela. The ride can get very intense at some points, however, these guys are so accustomed to the route and the weaving in and out of traffic that it ends up being pretty exhilarating. Through the favela you see dogs running everywhere, people listening to music, people working on their houses, sitting on their porches, and you really get to experience and witness Brazilians about their every day lives.
Once we reached the top of the favela we walked about a hundred yards through some backyards to the beginning of the path. But be careful, as this is where it can get tricky. Try to ask your taxi guide if he can point you in the right direction, although it’s pretty alarming walking in a strangers backyard (especially in a slum), it’s only about a hundred yards to the beginning of the path. Once you do reach the path, don’t be alarmed but the hike itself is pretty steep! You weave in and out of the Brazilian brush and work your buns for forty-five minutes to an hour and by the end of it you’ll be sweating bullets. All along the way up there’s viewpoints you can rest at.
Make sure to bring water because that Brazilian sun is no joke. When you get to the top you’ll want to make the most of this photo-op, it is truly a sight to see.