The probably most famous sugarloaf in the world
Visiting Rio de Janeiro, a trip to Sugarloaf Mountain is a must! Next to the Christ statue, which usually outshines every other sight in Rio, the real deal among Rio's landmarks is the coned rock situated at Guanabara Bay: Pão de Açúcar.
The most convenient way to get up the rock is by using the ropeway “O Bondinho” on the summit of the 1293 ft (394 m) high Brazilian Sugarloaf Mountain. Those of you feeling sportive enough can also just walk their way up. If you decide to hike up, please make sure you wear solid footwear and carry enough water with you.
Going up sitting in a gondola made of acrylic glass is already pretty spectacular! You enjoy a 360° panorama view which is already promising for what's there to come once you're on top of the mountain. There are two legs to be hiked before you get to the highest point of the rock and its viewing platform.
360° panorama view
The ride begins at the base station at the Praça General Tibúrcio and continues on the Morro da Urca. Here you find a theatre, various restaurants and one club, all of which guarantee a fun time before reaching your final destination on top. By taking the second gondola you will certainly reach the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The view you have standing up here is just phenomenal. You may catch a glimpse of the white powder beaches of Copacobana, Ipanema and Leblon, while overviewing the Bay of Guanabara and the districts Flamengo and Botafogo on the right-hand side at the same time. Above all rises the majestic Christ statue whose arms embrace Rio de Janeiro. The best view can be experienced at late afternoon, just before the sun sets. All photographers love the perfect light that produces wonderful images in the end. You might be lucky enough to get yourself a place right in the front row and watch the sun slowly but surely disappear behind the mountains. Those natural features create moments of magic as the entire megacity finds itself flooded by the warm and orange light of the setting sun.
In 1817 the million-year old granite rock was climbed for the first time. The decision was made to build a free-floating ropeway only after Brazil gained its independence and Rio de Janeiro as the then-capital was flourishing, economic-wise. In 1911 the “Companhia Caminha Aéro Pão de Açúcar” was founded and the construction work for the cableway started. A year later the first part, leading to Morro da Urca, was finished and could be fully used. In 1913 the last part was eventually completed and passengers could be carried the entire way up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The ropeway system, however, has only existed since 1972. It was the year the old wooden cableway was replaced by a more modern one. In 2008 each gondola was renewed and facilitated with slightly tinted acrylic glass giving visitors an amazing panorama view throughout the entire ride.
How to get there
Starting at the Copacabana, you first follow the Avenida Nossa Sra. De Copacabana, which then turns to the Av. Vencesiau Bras, leading straight to the cableway station at Sugarloaf Mountain.
By public transport
Going by bus, you easily reach the valley station nearby Guanabara Bay. Bus line 511, for instance, takes you within half an hour to the valley station.