With the prices increasing in Rio de Janeiro, visiting the sugarloaf mountain on a budget might be a solution to extend your trip in the city. Considered one of the top attractions to visit, the sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar – in Portuguese) is a range of mounts located in Urca district. Two cable cars link the mounts Babilônia, Urca and Sugarloaf.
How to get to Sugarloaf Mountain?
From Botafogo subway station it is a 30 minutes walk to Red Beach. If walking is not your thing, you can either catch the bus 107 direction Urca (4 BRL) just outside the station or take a cab that will cost you about 15 BRL (5 USD) with taximeter. Uber and taxi apps might give you a price 30% cheaper.
Cable car or not?
This modern cable car has a capacity of 65 passengers per trip that leasts approximately 3 minutes each stretch. This means that the system has a capacity of 1200 passengers per hour. The first part has an extension of 600 meters made in 21km/hour and the second part 850 meters made in 36km/h.
Indeed taking a trip in the cable car is an interesting experience, the Pope John II and John Kennedy stand out as celebrities that already tried it. On the other hand you will need at least to give 40 BRL (12 USD) for the first mount round trip or up to 80 BRL (24 USD) for the entire round trip journey including the second cable car.
If you are on a budget and really wanna try the cable car, you can hike up the hill and get a one way ticket down for 20 BRL (6 USD), a bargain. You can adquire them in the main ticket booth in Babilônia Mount or on the top of Urca Mount (this shop is not always open).
How do I hike the mount?
Here is the trick where most of the tourists are not aware of. You can do a 30-45 minutes hike to the first cable car station in the summit of Urca mount. The first step is to find the entry of Claudio Coutinho walk, a sealed road connecting Red beach to the beginning of the hike.
After a 10 minutes coastal walk following the mountain you will see the entry to the hike on the left with a sign written: “Trilha do Morro da Urca”. From there a 30-45 minutes slightly steep track with a lot of steps will lead you to the summit of “Morro da Urca”. It is important to notice that the trail can be muddy in rainy periods, so it isn’t recommended when wet.
On the top there are plenty of stores, including food and souvenirs shops. Havaianas, the famous Brazilian slippers, also have a store with same prices as in the city (unbelievable). You have a good view on Botafogo, Flamengo and Urca districts and is possible to see also Christ the Redeemer (Corcovado).
Activities such as helicopter flight are available on the top and will cost you around 300 BRL (100 USD) for a 15 minutes flight. It is an awesome spot to enjoy the sunset!