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Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar)

Scale this mountain on foot or by cable car to see impressive views of Rio’s beaches, rain forests and its most famous statue.

Located on the coast of the southeastern corner of Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) resides within forests, water and hills at the edge of Guanabara Bay. Rock climbers conquer the mountain using appropriate gear, but most visitors take the glass-sided cable car to the top. Originally built in 1912, the cable car transports 65 visitors per trip and offers panoramic views the entire way.

Sugarloaf Mountain offers remarkable views of nearby beaches, local rain forests, adjacent hills and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. The lush rain forests provide a sharp contrast against the surrounding granite hills. Historians attribute the mountain’s name to the 16th-century practice of molding sugar into a cone-like shape. These “sugar loaves” were common during the peak of Brazil’s sugarcane trade.  

The mountain draws crowds year-round, but the best times to visit are each day early in the morning and 90 minutes before sunset. Make sure you have clear skies and bring your camera to capture Rio’s scenic beauty from 1,300 feet (396 meters) above sea level. Right beneath you is Copacabana Beach, which connects to Ipanema Beach at its southern end. To the west, enjoy views of Rio’s iconic member of the “New Seven Wonders of the World,” the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Cable cars depart every 20 minutes from morning until evening. Before reaching the top, you will board two cable cars. One stops at Morro da Urca and the other stops at the peak, Pão de Açúcar. Be sure to check with the ticketing office if you visit during major holidays as cable-car trips typically close around noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and close completely on Christmas and New Year’s Day. If visiting between December and March, be prepared for the cable car to close early on weekend evenings to accommodate seasonal performances.  

Access to Sugarloaf Mountain is from Praia Vermelha at the southern entry to Guanabara Bay. You can walk to Guanabara Bay from nearby Copacabana Beach, or use boat or bus if you are coming from farther afield.

Popular Activities at Sugar Loaf Mountain

You could comfortably spend an entire morning at Sugar Loaf Mountain. The list below contains a nice selection of the activities you can enjoy here:

For even more activities, check out our Rio de Janeiro things to do page.


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Lodging Near Sugar Loaf Mountain

See all 2,184 Properties near Sugar Loaf Mountain
Windsor Leme Hotel $92
Reviewed on May 11, 2019
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Windsor Leme Hotel

Windsor Leme Hotel

Avenida Atlantica 656, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
     
    4.3 of 5
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Location - this hotel is right across the street from the beach. The rooftop pool and rooms are also excellent and staff are always ready to help.

    PortoBay Rio de Janeiro $118
    Reviewed on May 20, 2019
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    PortoBay Rio de Janeiro

    PortoBay Rio de Janeiro

    Avenida Atlântica, 1500, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
       
      4.4 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Great place to stay, great location and driendly staff

      Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro $188
      Reviewed on May 23, 2019
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      Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

      Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

      Avenida Atlantica, 1020, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
         
        4.5 of 5
        5.0 out of 5.0

        Right on the beach. The hotel pictures are exactly what the hotel has. Has many convenience stores nearby. Wide range of restaurants (including a vegan restaurant) around.

        Windsor Florida Hotel $61
        Reviewed on May 22, 2019
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        Windsor Florida Hotel

        Windsor Florida Hotel

        Rua Ferreira Viana, 81, Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
           
          4.4 of 5
          3.5 out of 5.0

          A well located business hotel. The initial room was a twin rather than a double. On asking for a double we were moved and the room was of better quality. Excellent bathroom. Good breakfast. Good location. Good place to stay. Easy to get to / from.

          Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro by Intercity $112
          Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019
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          Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro by Intercity

          Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro by Intercity

          Praia de Botafogo 242, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
             
            4.5 of 5
            4.5 out of 5.0

            Great location and rooftop bar. Marking on the floor tiles in the room look dirty even though they are actually clean.

            Windsor Plaza Hotel $66
            Reviewed on Apr 24, 2019
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            Windsor Plaza Hotel

            Windsor Plaza Hotel

            Ave Princesa Isabel 263 Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
               
              4.2 of 5
              3.5 out of 5.0

              It was my third time at this hotel. I like the services, staff, location, they try to find the room I like for me as a sigh of appreciation of my loyalty, and help with my questions and problems. They provide shuttle service to and from the airport.

              Arena Leme Hotel $91
              Reviewed on Apr 25, 2019
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              Arena Leme Hotel

              Arena Leme Hotel

              Av. Atlântica 324, Rio de Janeiro
                 
                4.5 of 5
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Excellent and modern hotel with decent breakfast selection.

                Pass Holidays With View OF Post Card
                Pass Holidays With View OF Post Card

                Pass Holidays With View OF Post Card

                Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Urca, this romantic property is steps from Guanabara Bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain. Copacabana Beach and Avenida Atlantica are also within 2 mi (3 km). Botafogo Station is 27 minutes by foot.