Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf

November 27, 2016

Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rio.  It has become a tradition for me to go up to the top and watch the sun set on my last evening in Rio.  I look down on this beautiful city and am filled with a desire never to leave. But leave I must.  That’s why each and every time, I say, “I’ll be back. This is not good-bye, it’s see you later.” Não digo adeus, digo “até logo.” This thought comforts me a little and so far, my promise has been fulfilled!

The last time we were here, 13 years ago, Dale’s fear of heights got the better of him and he only rode the cable car to the first stage, Urca. While Jayme and I took the next cable car up to the top and looked around waiting for the sunset, Dale stayed below on Urca. This time, however, he was determined to make it to the top.

There are two stages to go up to Sugarloaf.  You first ride up in a cable car to Urca, the lower part of the mountain, named for the small neighborhood you can see directly below.

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The fruit on the tree is “jaca.”


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Guanabara Bay; the city on the far side is Niteroi.



This time, my husband just stood in the middle of the cable car surrounded by people and didn’t watch the ascent to the top. I was proud of his bravery!


Witnessing the sunset from atop Sugarloaf is an amazing sight: first seeing the city from above during the day, then watching the sun go down beyond Gávea Rock, and then the lights gradually wink on in the city.  Of course, virtually every other tourist visiting Rio (and plenty of locals too) have the same idea, so I had to be a bit aggressive to be able to get to the railing where I could take photos unmarred by silhouettes of human heads. People did not relinquish their spot at the railing easily!

I went around exploring, sometimes with Dale, sometimes alone. Because Carlênia can’t get around easily, I didn’t suggest that we go down to the bar a short flight of stairs down and have a drink there; it would have been a relaxing way to wait for the sunset.  But anyway, I got great photos and videos of a cidade maravilhosa. They pretty much speak for themselves!

Dale, me and Carlenia at the top. Flamengo is barely visible behind us.
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Behind the green hill is Leme/Copacabana Beach
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Praia Vermelha, the origin point to get the cable car, has a small beach.
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Cable car ascending, below is Praia Vermelha.
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Flamengo and part of downtown Rio


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The distant rock with a flat top is Gavea. In front of that, between the two hills in upper left, is Ipanema. 
On the far right, you can barely see the Corcovado, which has the famous statue of Christ on top. Like the Statue of Liberty, it was a gift from France.
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Botafogo neighborhood – the harbor is dotted with yachts of the Rio Yacht Club


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On right, Urca cable car station


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Sun setting behind Gavea


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Corcovado with Christ Redeemer statue and lots of cellphone and TV towers


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Looking north/northwest after sunset









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