When you visit Rio, you must make the time to visit Sugarloaf Mountain, or as it is known in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar. This is the world-famous mountain located in Rio at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, and was so named in the sixteenth century during the heyday of the sugar cane trade because it looked like a traditional mound of concentrated refined loaf sugar.

Today, it is one of the quintessential icons of Rio, along with the Christ the Redeemer statue.

We visited on a Monday afternoon in August, when the weather was cool and the crowds were thin. We waited only about twenty minutes for the cable car that would take us to the first mountain (Morra da Urca), which stands about 660 ft. high, and then another ten minutes for the second cable car to take us to the top of Pão de Açúcar (about 1,300 ft. high). Cost for the trip was R$53, or about $27 roundtrip. Well worth the money!

While we waited for the first cable car, we watched climbers take on the hills behind the cable car station (Babylon Mountain), looking like miniature insects as they scaled the naked rock. In another life, that’s something I want to do!

At the top of Morra de Urca, we were greeting by marmosets, an animal which I had never seen before.

The ride to the top of Pão de Açúcar took us over the coast and across the water.

As luck would have it, we also arrived up on top within ten minutes of sunset. Spec. Tac. U. Lar! From the top, you can see all of the bay, across the Atlantic Ocean, along the shoreline of Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach, and some of Leblon Beach, and up into the hills and rainforests that slip down to the water’s edge. And, of course, Christ the Redeemer statue.

The sun was setting and the light ocean fog had begun to drape over the inland mountains, while the light turned first orange, then pink, and finally purple. Again, spectacular! The colors seemed to echo Nature’s delight in the view. Enjoy the photos below. I hope the sights enchant you as much as they did me.