Hiking in Rio de Janeiro: Dois Irmãos

As you enjoy the sun on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Ipanema beach, if you take a slight glance to the west your eyes will undoubtedly latch onto the impressive two-pronged granite tower that springs from the ocean’s depths. In a city full of iconic mountains that grace the front of postcards, Dois Irmãos is one of those classic peaks that contributes to the city’s beauty.

While most of those who visit Ipanema beach are satisfied appreciating the peak from afar, many choose to get a more intimate view of the mountain by hiking to the top.

Viewed from the west, the 1,700-foot peak looks impossible to summit. The sheer granite faces dive a thousand or so feet vertically down towards the ocean. The cliffs are so steep that no plants manage to take root. However, on the opposite side of the mountain, the grade is a bit more forgiving, and there is a trail that snakes through the jungle up to the summit.

Dois Irmãos — which translates to two brothers in Portuguese — had been on my to-do list for a while, but due to the logistics of the hike that requires first navigating the Vidigal favela, I was waiting for a friend who knew the route to accompany me and show me the way. After a bit of badgering, I was able to find a friend equally as enthusiastic about hiking who would join me on a scorching summertime afternoon to the top of the mountain.

Here’s a photo journey of that late-afternoon hike:

Dois Irmãos as viewed from atop Pedra da Gávea. The twin peaks is what gives it its name, two brothers.
At the top of the favela the pavement transitions to trail. About 45 minutes of hiking up the spine of the mountain will get you to the top.
If you keep your eyes peeled you can catch monkeys in the trees.
Pitstop at one of the many viewpoints along the way.
Looking down on Rocinha, which I’ve been told is the largest favela in Latin America.
3 Cariocas and a gringo make it to the peak.
The top of the mountain provides views to the east of Rio’s Zona Sul.
This hike is quite popular given its central location in the middle of the city. There were a mix of locals and tourists enjoying the views on top.
There is a sliver of space that allows you to look west to watch the sun set behind Pedra da Gávea.
Heading back down the trail and catching a classic Rio sunset.
Rocinha favela lit up at night.

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