Marking the entrance to Guanabara Bay and the end of the ocean is the oddly shaped and immensely popular Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar). This 1,300-foot tall monolith juts out on a peninsular peak, offering great views of the ocean shoreline and the city scape. Think of it as the natural Eiffel Tower of Brazil—everyone wants to go to the top, and once you get there the panorama is simply staggering.
The journey up Sugarloaf Mountain is thrill all by itself. The main way to summit is via a two-stop glass cable car ride. The ride is short, lasting less than 10 minutes in total, but the suspended cars offer 360-degree views and give the odd sensation of riding on an escaped elevator.
The first ride takes you from Red Beach (Praia Vermelha) up 722 feet to Urca Hill (Morro da Urca). The second half of this sky-high trip takes you to Sugarloaf Mountain, for a total journey of 4,593 feet bottom to top. The first car leaves at 8:10 a.m. and the last returns at 9:00 p.m. If possible, try to visit at sunset because the sun setting behind the Christ Redeemer statue is a praise-worthy sight.
The Sugarloaf aerial tramway was first constructed in 1912 and then rebuilt in 1972. The cable cars themselves are more modern, imported from Switzerland in 2008. There are snack stands at both sites (Urca Hill and Sugarloaf Mountain), so you can marvel at Rio’s beauty of beaches, buildings, and lush mountains while sipping a caipirinha.
Keen to see Rio de Janeiro for yourself? Check out our Rio de Janeiro & Brazil tours here or speak to one of our Destination Experts about crafting the bespoke vacation of your dreams.
Thanks to Rodrigo Soldon Souza for the title image of this blog.
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