The Sugarloaf Mountain of Rio
English Henrietta Carstiers was the white person to climb Sugarloaf in 1817. The view from the top is astounding. You have the city of Rio at your feet as well as good views of Guanabara Bay and Rio´s twin city Niteroi. It has long been one of Rio´s most visited attractions and has also starred in films like “Moonraker” with James Bond fighting Jaws.
Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) has two versions. One is that it was the similarity to the cones of sugar that was widely exported to Europe that gave its name. Another one is that it is from the indian language Tupi-Guarani “Pau-nh-açuquã” meaning high isolated hill.
1912 was the inauguration for the cable car to Sugarloaf. The full ride is 1400 meters and takes you to two green hills made of granite; Morro da Urca and Morro do Pão de Açúcar, the latter rising 396 meters above sea level.
The nature and wildlife in the area is rich and the Atlantic Rainforest grows dense. Here you have many rare species and animals that are hard to find anywhere else in the world. The first hill Morro da Urca is easily accessible on foot. The hike to the cable car takes about 30 minutes, and offer an excellent nature experience.
When you are up there you have to wonder how they got it all in place back in the early 20th century. You can read that it was a daring project that included really dangerous climbing, transporting all the construction material up the cliff face, something I don´t find hard to believe! For rock climbers the area is well known and in particular the actual Sugarloaf, together the area has more than 270 routes.
Catching the sunset and watching how the city light up is truly an experience. There are many small restaurants with snack food and drinks. A good idea is to bring a sweater since it can get a bit chilly in the evening, a camera is almost a must.