Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most iconic landmarks in Brazil. It’s a granite peak that rises 396 meters (1,299 feet) above the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. Its name is for its resemblance to a traditional sugarloaf shape, the usual form of refined sugar until the late 19th century. The Sugarloaf is an attraction you can’t miss during your trip to Rio de Janeiro. So let’s find out together in this post everything you need to know about it.
Sugarloaf Mountain History
Sugarloaf Mountain has a long history. Indeed, it was discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese navigator Gonçalo Coelho. It was first climbed in 1817 by a British officer named Henry Chamberlain. In the 19th century, the Sugarloaf served as a quarantine station, and in 1912 the first cable car was inaugurated to take people to the summit. Today, one and a half million people visit it every year.
One of the most famous anecdotes about Sugarloaf Mountain is the filming of the James Bond movie “Moonraker” in 1979. An unforgettable scene takes place in the Sugarloaf cable car, featuring an epic fight scene between James Bond and his nemesis, Jaws.
Ascent by Cable Car
The most common way to reach the top of Sugarloaf Mountain is by cable car. The journey starts at Praia Vermelha, and the cable car takes you to the summit in two stages. The first cable car takes you to the top of Morro da Urca, which is 220 meters high (722 feet). At the top of Morro da Urca, you can take in the stunning views of Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara Bay.
The second cable car takes you to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, and the journey is breathtaking. As you ascend, you’ll see the entire city of Rio de Janeiro, the beaches, and the mountains. The view from the top is stunning, and it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see. The cable car operates daily from 9 am to 8 pm. But beware, the last climb is at 7 pm. A good tip is to make the ascent in the late afternoon, around 5 pm, to witness a breathtaking sunset! Note that the price of the complete course is about 30 dollars.
Ascent on Foot
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb Sugarloaf Mountain on foot. The climbing difficulty is regular but requires a certain experience level and training. The ascent starts at Praia Vermelha, and the trail takes you through the forest and up the hill. As you climb, you’ll see the region’s flora and fauna. For example, small funny monkeys and birds are common in the area. You’ll also have some stunning views of the city.
The hike takes around two hours, including a small part of climbing. It’s not very difficult, but it requires some experience and a good sense of balance. Once you reach the summit, the reward is an incredible view of Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding mountains. But be careful, do not try to climb the Sugarloaf alone. Indeed, you need to be accompanied by a specialized guide who will provide you with all the equipment and assistance necessary for a successful ascent in complete safety. Fortunately, you can count on our Sugarloaf Mountain hike. Just consult our offer for more details.
No doubt that Sugarloaf Mountain is a must-visit attraction. Whether you ascend it by cable car or on foot, the views from the top are breathtaking, and the experience is unforgettable. The Sugarloaf is more than a landmark of Rio de Janeiro. Indeed, it’s also a symbol of Brazil’s natural beauty.