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Morro da Babilônia Hike in Rio de Janeiro

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    The Morro da Babilônia is a hill in Leme.

    Leme is a neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. Despite that it’s located close to the famous Copacabana, it’s not a well-known hiking destination. Mainly because the hill is home to a favela known by the same name, Babilônia. Not many tourists venture there. In fact, we didn’t plan to hike the Morro da Babilônia when we were planning our Brazil trip.

    But as we ended up staying in a hostel in this favela, we decided to give it a try. It was our first favela experience, and it was very eye-opening. The hike is beautiful, too. The Morro da Babilônia boasts wonderful views of the nearby Urca Hill and Sugarloaf mountain. At the end it turned out to be among the most beautiful hikes we did in Rio.

    Read on to learn more about the beautiful Morro da Babilônia hike!

    1. Morro da Babilônia Hike: Basics

    The hill is home to a favela of the same name.

    Not many people go there, as it is not considered entirely safe. In the past, there have been clashes and disagreements between the police and gangs. However, when we were there everyone was telling us that the area is safe, and there’s nothing to worry about — that’s also exactly the way we felt when staying there (for 10 days).

    MY ROUTE:

    TIME AND DISTANCE: 40 min, 1.55 miles (2.5 km) out-and-back 

    The Morro da Babilonia hike very short.

    It’s easy to follow, and it’s not strenuous.

    At one point, when you are almost halfway there, you’ll see that there’s another trail that leads to another viewpoint. That trail goes to the left. To follow in our footsteps, you have to go to the right. And almost at the top there’s one more trail (to a closed off area).

    Enjoying the view from Morro da Babilonia
    Enjoying the view from Morro da Babilonia

    2. How to Get To Morro Da Babilônia?

    The Morro da Babilônia hill is located in the Leme neighbourhood.

    Leme is a neighbourhood in the South Zone of Rio, right next to Copacabana. The neighbourhoods of Urca and Botafogo are nearby.

    You can walk to the Morro da Babilônia from Copacabana. If you aren’t staying in Copacabana, you can take the metro to Cardeal Arcoverde / Copacabana station and walk. It’s a half an hour walk from Cardeal Arcoverde metro station. Keep in mind that the hill is located in a favela (of the same name, Babilônia). When we were there in 2022, it was considered safe.

    To get to the top of the favela (it’s located on a hill), where the trailhead is located, you need to walk uphill through the favela for some 15 minutes.

    Alternatively, you can take a motorbike taxi. They are right at the bottom of the hill, at the entrance to the favela. A motorbike taxi will take you to the top of the favela in minutes. At the end of the road, there are stairs which will take you to the trailhead of the Morro da Babilonia hike — everyone in favela knows the place.

    Tour guides offer guided hiking tours to the Morro da Babilônia.

    3. Morro da Babilônia Hike: Our Experience

    How we even decided to stay at a favela during our trip to Rio?

    We were booking accommodation at the very last-minute, a few days before the trip. It was a top season. We were traveling to Rio for Carnival 2022. Unfortunately, the carnival was rescheduled a month before it was due to start. But despite that, most budget accommodation options were booked out. And… we found Babilonia Rio Hostel.

    They still had a couple rooms and beds. The reviews were good, and many stated that the favela was pretty safe. So we decided to stay there.

    It was a lovely hostel, indeed. We had a small room (with a private bathroom) which boasted a lovely view of the ocean! Since we wake up early in the morning, we saw beautiful sunrises from the window every day.

    This is how we learned of the hike.

    The hotel manager and guests recommended us to do the Morro da Babilonia hike — it’s a trek to a viewpoint on the Morro da Babilônia hill. They said it’s a short and easy hike. We just needed to go to the top part of the favela. That’s where the trail started. As the hostel was almost at the top, it took us only 5 minutes to get to the trailhead.

    It took us about 20 more minutes to go up the hill, walking on the trail, and 15 minutes to go down. The hiking trail is easy to follow, and it leads to a beautiful lookout point. It’s a pleasant hike through the jungle. At some point, when you are almost halfway there, you’ll see that there’s another trail that leads to another viewpoint. And almost at the top there’s one more trail but it leads to a private property (or something like that).

    It’s an out-and-back trail, so this means that you’ll have to take the same route to return back to where you started.

    Here are our photos from the Morro da Babilônia hike:

    Steps leading from the favela - Hiking Morro da Babilonia
    Steps leading from the favela to the trailhead – Hiking Morro da Babilonia
    Hiking through the jungle to the viewpoint on Morro da Babilonia
    Hiking through the jungle to the viewpoint on Morro da Babilonia
    Reached the top - Morro da Babilonia
    We reached the top of Morro da Babilonia. The views of Urca Hill and Sugarloaf are wonderful.
    Morro da Babilonia hike in Rio de Janeiro
    Views from the Morro da Babilonia in Rio
    Marmoset sitting on a branch
    On our way there, we saw a couple of marmosets. It was the first time we saw a marmoset.
    View of praia Vermelha
    A view of praia Vermelha from Morro da Babilônia
    Walking down the Morro da Babilonia
    Walking down the Morro da Babilonia

    Have you been to Rio de Janeiro? Did you do the Morro da Babilonia hike? If yes, what was your experience? Have you done any other hikes in Rio de Janeiro?


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