The second most famous peak in Rio is called the Sugarloaf, or Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese, the top of the hill is almost 400 meters above sea level. The trip to the top is done with a cable car, inaugurated in 1912 it has brought millions of people to this beautiful spot. It was made famous in the James Bond film Moonraker when James Bond fight Jaws on top of one of the cabins.
Sugarloaf – Best for Sunsets
It is perfect for sunsets where you can see Rio’s ilumination light up in the early evening, something that is a lot harder from the Christ Statue since clouds many times gather there in the afternoon. A good tip is to bring a book and spend a few hours up there, they have small stalls where you can buy sandwiches as well as drinks. A sweater is a good idea since it can get pretty nippy.
The Cable Car Ride
It is actually a two step journey. The whole return trip costs 62 R$, half the price if you are between 6 and 21 years old (so bring an ID or passport) and free if you are under 6. The first cable car ascending leaves at 8:10h and the last at 20h, going down the last one leaves at 20:40h (this info is from January 2012). If you want to confirm any of this go to the Official Sugarloaf Site
If you want you can easily hike up and down the first hill as long as it is not dark. Go to Hikes in Rio to get more detailed information about this.
Getting there is easy, either a cab to the foot of the hill or from Copacabana and Ipanema catch bus number 511 (going back is with 512). A taxi wouldn’t be too expensive since it’s close to where you are likely to stay as a tourist.
Around Carnival every year concerts are held on the first hill featuring famous Brazilian artists. The concerts are at night and the cable car operates until later, the ride up and down is included in the ticket price. If you are interested in seeing Rio de Janeiro from above you have helicopter rides leaving from Morro da Urca. Different itineraries are available, the shortest and most popular will take you around the Christ statue.