Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro’s Pao de Acucar, is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmarks. Rising out of the waters of Bahia de Guanabara, this monolith of granite and quartz provides a fantastic entrance from the Atlantic Ocean into the bay.
Climbing to a height of 1299 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain is not the highest point in Rio de Janeiro but one of the most impressive and spectacular sites the city has to offer. Access to the summit is provided by two cable cars, unless you plan on rock climbing your way to the top. Glass enclosed cable cars capable of carrying 75 people at a time provide transportation to the top and leave the station of Urca every 20 minutes for the 5 minute ride to the top.
First stop on the ascent is Morro de Urca, at 700 feet the mountain provides a spectacular view of the larger Sugar Loaf Mountain or as called in Portuguese, Pao de Acucar. Restaurants and shops as well as bathrooms are located at the Morro de Urca stop. Next is a separate cable car to the higher Sugar Loaf Mountain
Reaching the summit of Pao de Acucar( Sugar Loaf Mountain) you will be surprised by the spectacular views. The city of Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana Beach and Botafogo Beach lie to the west. The view to the west also has the backdrop of Corcovado with the Rio’s world famous Christ Redeemer Statue. To the north are the Bahia de Gunabara and the city airport, Aeroporto Santas Dumont. East across the bay is the city of Niteroi.
On the top of Sugarloaf Mountain there are several trails wandering thru jungle like vegetation offering great viewing points around the mountain. It is not uncommon to see rock climbers scaling either Sugar Loaf Mountain or Morro de Urca as the mountains provide over 270 climbing routes and are one of the largest concentrations of metropolitan climbing spots in the world.
Traveling to Sugarloaf Mountain is convenient if you are staying in Rio de Janeiro or coming from Rio’s two airports, Galeao_Antonio Carlos Jobom International Airport or Aeroporto Santas Dumont. It is best to allow at least 3 hours for your trip to Sugar Loaf Mountain for cable rides and enjoying the spectacular views. Weekends and holidays can see long lines for the cable cars, both going up and coming back down.
It is also recommended to see Sugar Loaf Mountain prior to seeing the much higher Corcovado and the statue of the Christ Redeemer so one is not disappointed by the views.