Visiting the Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset is a special experience. No trip to Rio de Janeiro is complete without a ride in its cable car. This tourist attraction is the second most famous postcard in Rio de Janeiro, losing only to the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The complex known as Sugar Loaf is formed by two hills. The higher is the Sugarloaf Mountain, with 396 meters above sea level, and the lowest is the Morro da Urca, with 220 meters above sea level. To go all the way to the top, you must take two cable cars.
The first cable car runs between Praia Vermelha and Morro da Urca. From Morro da Urca you can see the Botafogo beach with the Christ the Redeemer statue in the background. There’s a heliport where you can take panoramic flights and admire the entire city from above. Restaurants and souvenir shops sell their products with the most outrageous prices in the city. A small square named Cable Car Plaza (Praça dos bondes) displays two previous cable cars. The oldest one was used from 1912 to 1972. The most recent one was used until 2008.
There’s a hiking trail to Morro da Urca. It’s very popular during the weekends among the Cariocas. It takes around 45 min to arrive up there. The trail is easy and well signalized.
The second cable car runs between the peaks Morro da Urca and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf). From the Sugarloaf you can see Botafogo on the right side of the mountain and the Copacabana beach on the left side. You can see the mountain ranges that surround the city, the Guanabara Bay and the neighboring city of Niteroi. Sadly, when I arrived at the top, night had already fallen.
The top of the Sugarloaf Mountain can also be reached by a hiking trail. This trail is more difficult and includes climbing up a vertical wall in the rock. It’s best to go with a guide. It takes around 3 hours to go all the way to the top.
The ticket price is not cheap, and the lines are way too long, but the view makes it worthwhile. To save some time you can buy your ticket online. Be sure to go when the sky is clear to take beautiful photos.