Pedra da Gavea

For some, Carnaval is a time of letting go of all inhibitions – the chance to party, dance, dress up in costumes, indulge the id, and let loose. The parties, parades, blocos, and craziness dominate Rio for several days. For that reason, most people who don’t LOVE Carnaval get out of town – vacations, the beach, the mountains… Lots of churches have retreats. We had a stay-cation (I think I got the term from either Court or Jara.) So for us, Carnaval was surfing at the beach, volleyball in the park, a day at Rio Water Planet (did I mention it’s Latin America’s largest water park?), high stakes poker, a couple of movies, and hiking up the Pedra da Gavea.


Most people have heard of Sugarloaf and the Christ statue overlooking Rio. And those are both definitely cool things to do. But the Pedra da Gavea… pretty amazing. It towers 842 meters (2,762 feet) above the coast separating two beach neighborhoods (Barra and Sao Conrado). And while it was fairly strenuous (pretty much a constant 45 degree angle all the way up), very much worth it. (I can see why they recommend using ropes though – a 20-30 foot stretch of 80 degree scrambling up a crack in the rock, with a couple hundred foot drop off over the ledge… Guess who didn’t bring any rope…)

– On the way up

– “Look ma, no ropes!”

– At the top!

There’s something about standing on the edge of the rock, looking over an almost half-mile drop-off… watching the hang-gliders and parasailers way, way below you, the mist rolling in, the panorama… wishing I knew a bit more about base-jumping… =)


– Looking out over the city from the top

– Sitting on the edge of the world…


– And it’s a long way down…
– Looking down on a hang-glider over the beach of Sao Conrado

Apparently, there are also quite a few mysteries wrapped up in the Pedra da Gavea. There appears to be a face carved in the side of the mountain – some claim that it is the head of a giant sphinx creature, guarding the tomb of a Phoenician king, carved in 850 BC (supported by a questionable inscription found carved in the rock). Others claim there are portals to a subterranean underworld (Argatha) that connects to other places such as Macchu Pichu, or the Bermuda Triangle. And finally there are those who claim it was built by the same people (creatures?) who built the Nazca Lines, Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Egypt, and Atlantis…

Sadly, we didn’t find any trans-dimensional portals, or gateways to Atlantis. We did find a cool waterfall to play in on the way down, which pretty much made up for not finding the other things (at least in my book…) Maybe next time…

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2 Comments

Filed under adventures, fun, gavea, hiking, life, photos, rio de janeiro

2 responses to “Pedra da Gavea

  1. JaraBeara

    such beautiful photos! staycation! gotta love it!

  2. Angela Rhodes

    Wow those views are spectacular! I would love to live in Brazil for a couple years, right now though I am an expat in Amsterdam, a little far from paradise! 🙂

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