The Obvious
RioGuides is revamping it's website, please be patient for a better experience...

  • Register

Sugarloaf Mountain

View from Sugar-loaf Mountain

The Sugar loaf mountain is among the most famous icons of Rio de Janeiro. With an easy access from nearby Copacabana or Ipanema, an obligatory stop for first time visitors to Rio de Janeiro.


"Pau-nh-Acqua" (which stands for "high hill" in the Tupi-Guarani language) was the original name given by the native inhabitants (Tamoios) for the more then 600 million years old granite rock that forms a peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean. The 1,299 ft. ( 396 m.) high rock stands as if it were the gatekeeper of the Guanabara Bay.


When the French invaded they baptized the rock as "Pot de Beure". The Portuguese then renamed it "Pão de Assucar" until the French reappeared and had again a new name being "Pot de sucre". In the second half of the XIX century the name "Pão de Açúcar" was generally accepted by the Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro after receiving paintings and engravings from a few European Artists displaying the beauty of the sugar loaf mountain.
In 1908, the engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos came up with the idea for the cable car line. And In 1912 on October 7th the first cable car line (575 m.) to the top of the Urca mountain was opened. At that time it was the first cable car that was build in Brazil and the third one on a global scale. The first cable cars were made of wood and had a capacity of 24 passengers. It was only in 1913 that the second line (750 m.) to the top of the sugar loaf mountain was ready, on January 18th to be exact. In 1969 the administration of Guanabara decided to start building a new cable car line, which opened on October 29th 1972. In 2002 new cables were installed. In 2002 when the line was in operation for 90 years, the cable cars transported more then 31 million people to the top of the mountain.
The story behind the name itself is probably as follows: In the XVI and XVII century, the Portuguese were exporting a lot of sugar cane from Brazil to Europe. When the sugar was refined, they put the sugar blocks in conical mud containers. Those containers were called sugar loaves. The shape of those containers had a strong resemblance with the sugar loaf mountain. So the historian Vieira Fazenda assumes that this is the origin of the name of the sugar loaf mountain.

Famous Visitors:

Albert Einstein, John Kennedy, José Samey, Lech Walesa, Roberto Carlos, Sting, Ronaldinho, Romàrio, Roger Moore, Robert de Niro, Gina Lolobrigida, Brook Shields, Sônia Braga, .....

Facts & Figures:

The line has 4 stations: at The Red Beach, 2 on the Urca rock (220 m.) and on the sugar loaf (396 m.) itself of course. The 4 stations are interlinked with 2 lines between each station and a total of 4 cable cars with a capacity of 65 people each.


A rare orchid "laelia lobata" can be found on the sugarloaf mountain. The only other place where you can find this orchid is on the Fávea rock.

How To Get There:

Address: Avenida Pasteur, 520 - Urca

Operating Hours & Prices:


Ticket sales from 08:00 am. until 07:50 pm.
First trip from the red beach to Urca 08:10 am.
First trip from Urca to Sugarloaf 08:20 am.
Last trip from the red beach to Urca 08:00 pm.
Last trip from Urca to Sugarloaf 08:20 pm.
Last trip from Sugarloaf to Urca 08:40 pm.
Last trip from Urca to the red beach 09:00 pm.
The parc closes at 09:00 pm.

Pricing < 6 years 6 - 12 years 12 - 60 years 60+ years Brazilian citizens years
Red Beach - Sugarloaf - Red Beach R$ 0.00 R$ R$ 26.00 R$ 53.00 R$ 0.00

Sugarloaf Mountain

Av. Pasteur, 520 Rio de Janeiro RJ 22290-240 Brazil

Latitude: -22.948595
Longitude: -43.156633
Route options