22290-270 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
tel: +55 21 2461 2700
fax: +55 21 2546 8419
NileGuide Expert tip:
Most tourists simply arrive at the Sugar Loaf, take the cable car to the top, and hop straight back onto the bus. A better idea is to set aside a good few hours to take the pleasant short walk around the base of the Sugar Loaf - where you will spot small monkeys in the trees overhead - before settling down for a sunbathe and a swim at Praia Vermelha beach, which is small, safe, quiet and very family friendly.
It may be more than a little touristy, but there´s many a good reason why visitors flock to take the cable car ride up to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain. Rising sheer out of the ocean and towering almost 400 meters above Guanabara Bay, the mountain offers spectacular views from its peak. A dizzying two-stage cable car ride takes in sweeping vistas of the city, and once you reach the top you´ll be in no doubt as to why Rio de Janeiro is known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city). As condors soar overhead, can look out over the mountains, dense jungle and those world famous city beaches. Take time to wander around and catch your breath; at the top of Sugar Loaf you will find snack bars, toilets and plenty of prime photo opportunities. At the bottom you will find the small but perfectly formed Praia Vermelha beach, a military barracks (making this perhaps the safest neighborhood in Rio) and a delightful short trail that will take you along a path overhung by trees that are home to plentiful marmosets and exotic birds. Dawn is the perfect time to visit Pão de Açucar to catch the best of the wildlife, before the crowds arrive and drive some of the shyer creatures away.
Photo courtesy of Frances Ridley