Forget Sugarloaf. Forget Christ the Redeemer. When it comes to views of Rio de Janeiro, the best lookout point is a place you’ve never heard of.

Mirante Dona Marta is a helipad and observation deck located on the ride from the beaches to the Santa Teresa neighborhood. We went there with our guide Michael Serruya.

From Mirante Dona Marta you get great shots of Christ the Redeemer, the beaches, downtown and Sugarloaf mountain.

I mean, look at this:

Sugarloaf mountain from Mirante Dona Marta

Sugarloaf mountain from Mirante Dona Marta. Some view, eh?

Unlike some of Rio’s more popular observation points, Mirante Dona Marta is extremely cheap. You pay the equivalent of USD $1 to park your car. (In comparison, Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf cost about USD $20 per person.)

Mirante Dona Marta sits on a cliffside in the Tijuca forest. Keep an eye out for massive lizards and monkeys in the trees around you. The park is just high enough for you to get sweeping views, but low enough that you can still see some detail of what’s happening on the ground.

Our guide Michael explains the view in this video:

http://youtu.be/A0YRi_KHVJ4

The helipad at Mirante Dona Marta is functional and there are flights throughout the day. Here’s a video of some lucky kids embarking on a sightseeing flight:

For more on Mirante Dona Marta, check out the reviews on TripAdvisor »

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