A touristic highlight in Rio de Janeiro is to take a cable car to the top of the Pao de Acucar. (Do not even ask me for the Portugese pronounciation of the words – it means sugar loaf.)
When the sun is out and no clouds are in sight, tourists flock to take in the view from the Pao de Acucar or the hill on which Christ the Redeemer stands. We have not yet been to the Cristo statue, but we have been to the top of Pao de Acucar! We went on a weekday, so we didn’t find any queues at the ticket booth in Urca.
At the top of the hill, there were loads of people; it was difficult to find a place at the handrail!From Ipanema or Copacabana you need to take the 511 bus (for 3 reals) that will drop you off very close to the ticket offices of the cable car in Urca. You pay 60 reals (you pronounce the word more like “hee-hash”) – that’s 30USD to take the cable car up to the hill. In reality you take two cable cars. The first one goes to a smaller hill where you can take a touristy picture in the old cars that were used here:This was the third cablecar system in the world! From the smaller hill you already have a breathtaking view of the beaches, ocean and Rio’s cityscape. The Cristo sculpture is behind Dirk in the photo: Not yet at the top, but halfway: If you are feeling sporty or want to save money, you can hike up to the first hill. You can ride the cablecar down for free from here if you wait until after 6pm! We didn’t do this, because you don’t get a discount if you climb halfway and still ride the cablecar to the top. This is the view of fantastic Ipanema beach behind me from the top of Pao de Acucar: There are many beaches and islands on and close to Rio’s coastline: A good idea would be to pack a picnic lunch – food is expensive to buy at the top and there are benches and tables where you can relax and eat at the top. This sculpture of a woman by Remo Bemucci is named Rio: Her skirt is the waves of the sea, her hair is the forest, the curved waist, the beaches, the breasts are the mountains, and the silhouette is the gracefulness of the of the carioca woman. People from Rio are called Cariocas.Looking out over Flamengo Bay: It was such a beautiful day that we decided to stay for the sunset. If you have the time and the weather allows it, do yourself a favour and watch the sunset from the top of Pao de Acucar – it’s magical!