Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Guide to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro

Millions of tourists travel to Rio de Janeiro every year and rush to visit one of Brazil’s most classic icons: Sugarloaf Mountain.

You, too, will want to experience this impressive mountain when touring in Rio. The breath-taking views alone make Sugarloaf a must see when going sightseeing!

When many tourists visit Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil, they often leave disappointed. Why? Because…

1. Many tourists stand in line and wait for hours at Sugarloaf

2. Many tourists do not see the vistas of Rio due to a cloud cover

Most travel guides on Rio or Brazil do not give in-depth tourist information on how to avoid these annoying and disappointing situations when you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro’s spectacular SugarLoaf. In fact, it is not unusual to see visitors reading their Brazil ou South America travel guidebooks while standing in line, or waiting for hours at the summit of the mountain, on the hope that the cloud cover will dissipate.

What can you do to guarantee your visit to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro is a memorable and exciting one?

Avoid hassle, maximize your time and invest your money wisely when visiting this iconic landmark during your trip in Rio de Janeiro.

Learn the secrets from a local tour guide — myself — who has visited Sugarloaf Mountain more than 700 hundred times! Get my e-book to enhance your experience at Sugarloaf in Brazil!

Sugarloaf  — The Definitive Guidebook
Visiting Rio de Janeiro’s Most Famous Hill


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What do you get from this printable PDF guide to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

  • → Updated info (2016 edition!) with easy step-by-step instructions, suggestions and advice on how to visit Sugaloaf Mountain by yourself – the best way – without lines, waste of time and disappointments!
  • → Insiders’ tips on safety, best day and best time to visit, how to get there, and sunset at Sugarloaf
  • → Relevant historic facts and curiosities about Sugarloaf Mountain
  • → Directions on how to visit Urca Hill for free
  • → Maps of Sugarloaf Mountain and the surrounding areas illustrating forest hiking trails, short-cuts only locals know, and fantastic photo-op locations
  • → Contact information of recommended and legitimate group tour operators and private tour guides if you want to visit Sugarloaf Mountain on a guided tour

View photos you might take with your own camera with the Sugarloaf Mountain Travel Guidebook in your hands…

Click on the first photo to enlarge it. Then, press the right arrow key to browse all pictures.

Sugarloaf — The Definitive Guidebook
Visiting Rio de Janeiro’s Most Famous Hill


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Table of Contents of the Sugar Loaf Travel Guidebook, 2016 Edition

Answers to Practical Questions on Visiting Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


1 (A) Practicalities:

Q. What are the opening hours of the Sugar Loaf complex?

  • What are the ticket office hours?
  • What time are the first ascending and last descending cable cars?
  • How often do the gondolas depart?
  • What are the operating hours on weekdays, weekends, and holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day) and Easter? Is Sugar Loaf open during the Carnival festivities?
  • Address of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Q. What are the cable car fares?

  • How much does it cost the round-trip ticket to the summit of Sugar Loaf?
  • Are there discounts for seniors and children?
  • Does the ticket office accept credit/debit cards or foreign currencies such as US$ and euros?
  • Can you purchase or pre-book the tickets in advance online? on what website?

Q. How can I visit Sugar Loaf on my own?

  • Getting to Sugar Loaf Mountain from Copacabana, Ipanema or other neighborhood nearby. How do you safely and easily visit Sugar Loaf Mountain by yourself, without a tour guide? Plan your own Sugar Loaf tour.
  • If so, what are the steps you should take? How to commute to Sugar Loaf?
  • How to get to Sugar Loaf alone? by bus, taxi, subway or train?
  • What neighborhood is Sugar Loaf in? How to get there?

Q. What bus should I take to get to the cable car ticket office?

  • What bus from Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon goes to Sugar Loaf?
  • How to identify the bus stops?
  • How much does the bus ride cost?
  • Where do you pay for the bus ticket?

Q. Can I walk from my hotel to the cable car ticket office?

  • How far is it? what is the distance on foot between Copacabana/Ipanema and Sugar Loaf?
  • Is it safe to walk to Sugar Loaf?

Q. Can I bicycle from my hotel to the cable car ticket office?

  • Are there biking lanes connecting the tourist neighborhoods to Sugar Loaf Mountain?
  • Is it safe to ride a bicycle from your hotel to Sugar Loaf?

Q. What is the safest way to get to Sugar Loaf?

  • By public transportation: by bus, by subway? or by taxi, walking, driving, or on an organized guided tour?
  • Are there risks of being mugged or getting robbed on the way to Sugar Loaf?
  • How much does it cost and how long does it take to get to Sugar Loaf by using the safest (not the cheapest) mode of transportation, and what is the easiest way?
  • Advice, safety travel tips and important warnings to safely get to Sugar Loaf Mountain

Q. How long does it take to visit Sugar Loaf?

  • How long does it take to visit Sugar Loaf in low or high season departing from Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, or from the Rio de Janeiro cruise ship terminal?

Q. Is it safe to visit Sugar Loaf?

  • Can you bring your large and expensive DSLR camera or camcorder?
  • Or, should you take a small cheap camera?
  • How safe is to carry your latest iPhone or Galaxy smart phone at Sugar Loaf Mountain?
  • Is Sugar Loaf safe for solo travelers, women, couples or family with babies, toddlers, small kids or teenagers?

Q. When is the best time to visit Sugar Loaf?

  • Morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or weekend?
  • Summer, Winter, Spring, or Autumn?
  • Getting to Sugar Loaf Mountain on a good day and at the right time is essential for a smooth experience.

Q. When is the worst time to visit Sugar Loaf?

  • Are long weekend public holidays bad times to go to Sugar Loaf? when are they along the year?
  • When do cruisers disembark at Pier Maua cruise ship port? when is the next cruise season in Rio de Janeiro?
  • How many tourists disembark from cruise ships on a single day? what are the busiest days?
  • How busy are the Brazilian summer and winter national school holidays? when are they?
  • How busy is Sugar Loaf during Carnival? what are the Carnival dates (February or March?) in 2016 and 2017?

Q. How to avoid long lines at the cable car ticket office?

  • What are the secrets of visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain without standing in lines for hours?
  • What time is best to avoid the crowd of visitors?
  • Tips to avoid hassles and waste of time and money

Q. What are the facilities at Urca Hill and Sugar Loaf?

  • Are there snack bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, or clean restrooms at Sugar Loaf?
  • Are there too many steps for the elderly? Are there facilities for the handicapped or those on a wheelchair?

Q. What should I wear to visit Sugar Loaf?

  • Wearing the improper outfit can actually ruin a longer visit. Learn about what to wear and what to pack.
  • Is there a dress code?

Q. What is the climate at Sugar Loaf?

  • What is the temperature in fahrenheit/celsius at Sugar Loaf Mountain?
  • How windy or cold is it, specially at night in April, May, June, July, August, September and October?


1 (B) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Q. Why should I visit Sugar Loaf?

  • Is it worth-going or should you skip this visit?

Q. Should I still visit Sugar Loaf if I have already visited Christ the Redeemer (‘Corcovado’)?

  • SugarLoaf vs. Christ the Redeemer: Do the lookouts at Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountain offer a similar view?
  • Or the experience at each site is quite different?
  • Will you regret visiting Sugar Loaf after having visited Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain?

Q. How many people visit Sugar Loaf annually?
Q. How safe are the Sugar Loaf cable cars?

  • Where have the cable cars been built? How old are they?
  • Does the cable car technical team follows rigorous international safety and maintenance standards?
  • Is it unsafe for you and your travelling companions to ride on those cars?
  • What to do if you are afraid of heights and cable cars?

Q. How many people fit in each cable car?
Q. How long is the cable car ride to Urca Hill and Sugar Loaf?
Q. What is the speed of the cars and the length of the cables?
Q. What can I see from Sugar Loaf?
Q. What animals can I see at Sugar Loaf?
Q. What can I see from Urca Hill?
Q. What animals can I see at Urca Hill?
Q. What kind of vegetation can I see at Urca Hill and Sugar Loaf?
Q. How long can I stay at Urca Hill or Sugar Loaf?

  • How long can you stay once you access the Sugar Loaf complex?
  • How long most visitors stay at the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain?

Q. How many people fit at the top of Sugar Loaf and Urca Hill?
Q. Can a visit to Sugar Loaf be disappointing?

  • What can you do to enhance your experience?
  • How can you avoid the crowds?
  • How about bad weather? From what vantage points can you verify if there is a cloud cover obscuring the views?

Q. Is it worth going to Sugar Loaf before sunset?

  • What are the risks involved?

Q. What is the best time to get to Sugar Loaf to witness the sunset?

  • Get access to a detailed timetable presenting the best time to head to Sugar Loaf according to the month of the year.

Q. What time of the year is Daylight Saving Time in Rio de Janeiro?

  • When will Daylight Saving Time (DST) start and finish in 2014, 2015, and 2016? That may affect your visit to Sugar Loaf Mountain at sunset.

Q. Can I hike up to Sugar Loaf?
Q. Can I rock climb Sugar Loaf by the Costao route?
Q. Are there tour guides at Urca Hill or Sugar Loaf to explain the history to me?
Q. What is the best way to visit Sugar Loaf: by myself or on a guided tour?

  • Advantages and disadvantages of visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain on your own and on a guided tour (private or group).
  • List and contact information of recommended tour operators (for example, for backpackers) and private tour guides.

Q. How long does it take to go from Sugar Loaf to Corcovado or vice-versa?
Q. How do I get a taxi after visiting Sugar Loaf?




Curiosities and History of Sugar Loaf




Q. What is Sugar Loaf?
Q. What is the Sugar Loaf rock made of and when was it formed?
Q. Why is it called Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) in Brazilian Portuguese?
Q. How did the idea of building a cable car system to Sugar Loaf summit arise?
Q. What was the main challenge?
Q. What were the criticisms faced by engineer Ramos?
Q. Where were the cable cars built?
Q. Who paid for the cable car system?
Q. How was the cable car system built?
Q. How long did it take to install the cable cars and build the stations?
Q. How do the cable cars work?
Q. What was the international impact of the Sugar Loaf cable cars?
Q. How many cables cars were there in the world before the Sugar Loaf system was built?
Q. How long did the first bondinho (cable car) generation operate?
Q. Who built the second cable car generation, and how much did the modernization cost?
Q. What were the modernizations of the second cable car generation?
Q. What is the lifespan of the cables?
Q. How new are the current cable cars?
Q. Other than for planned maintenance, has the cable car operation ever been interrupted?





Additional Information and Maps






Some other Historic Facts and
General Curiosities about Sugar Loaf.



Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) Map.
Locate on this map, among other things, restaurant and taxi stands.



Pista Claudio Coutinho (Claudio Coutinho Pedestrian Path) Map.
On this map you locate, among other things, the beginning of the hiking/rock-climbing path for self-guide (by the way, the hiking trail is usually busy on weekends in December and January).


Morro da Urca (Urca Hill) Map.
On this map you can locate, among other things, the helicopter sightseeing flight ticket office and the helipad, the food court, shopping area, and several photo-op locations (great photographs guaranteed even for the amateur photographer).


Pao de Acucar (SugarLoaf) Map.
On this map locate the ideal seating area to see the sunset, snack bar as well as a hidden chill out, picnicking and photo-op location.



Rio de Janeiro Panorama Views.
It details what you see from Urca Hill and SugarLoaf Mountain.

Rio-de-Janeiro--minimized-MapRio de Janeiro Map. In this city orientation map you will get a sense of direction and find where are located important sights in relation to Sugar Loaf: the Atlantic Ocean, the international airport Antonio Carlos Jobim/Galeao (GIG), Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) [closest airport to SugarLoaf], cruise ship dock, Novo Rio intercity bus station, Corcovado train station and Corcovado minibus shuttle stands, Maracana Soccer Stadium, Tijuca National Park, Tijuca Forest, Botanical Garden, Barra da Tijuca, Sao Conrado, Santa Teresa, Cosme Velho, Lagoa, Gavea, Lapa, Centro (downtown/old Rio), Flamengo, Botafogo, Leblon, Ipanema Beach, Arpoador, Copacabana Beach, Leme, Urca, Gavea, Ilha do Governador, Petropolis, Ilha Grande, Paraty, Niteroi, Buzios, as well as Rio de Janeiro City in relation to Brazil and South America.

Rio-de-Janeiro-Cruise-Ship-Schedule-minimizedRio de Janeiro Cruise Ship Calendar. This sheet features the dates that the cruise ships will dock in the next cruise ship season (starting usually in November), their time of arrival and departure, how long will they dock for, the name of the ships, and the number of passengers that will disembark on a single day (specially on some Saturdays and Sundays). This information is crucial for all visitors (including those on a layover) to avoid the crowds at Sugar Loaf as well as at other main attractions in Rio.



About the author. Basic information about the author and tour guide, who has taken visitors to Sugar Loaf Mountain more than 700 times on private guided tours of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Note: throughout the SugarLoaf Mountain e-book (in PDF) you can click on any blue hyperlink and jump to the page mentioned on it.

Sugarloaf — The Definitive Guidebook
Visiting Rio de Janeiro’s Most Famous Hill


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