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Sugar Loaf: Tickets and Tours

Rio de Janeiro is famed for many things, including its towering statue of Christ, glittering carnival and the spectacular mountain — Sugar Loaf.

This oddly-shaped mount is home to one of the oldest cable cars in the world and over a million visitors ascend its steep slopes each year.

So, if you’re heading to Rio de Janeiro anytime soon, make sure you purchase Sugar Loaf tickets and tours, so you don’t miss out on gaining a bird's eye view over the Latin American city.

Here's all you need to know about Sugar Loaf tickets, one of the most famous attractions in Rio de Janeiro.

How much do Sugar Loaf tickets cost?

Sugar Loaf ticket prices enable you to gain access to the cable car that will transport you from the streets of Rio de Janeiro to the summit.

These run approximately every 20 minutes throughout the day and are the fastest way to see the mountain.

  • Adults: BRL116 (US$23)
  • Youngsters aged 7-21: BRL58 (US$12)
  • Children aged 6 and under: Free

Who is eligible for discounts?

Those aged 60 and over can enjoy a hefty discount of 50% on their Sugar Loaf tickets, bringing the cost down to BRL58 (US$12) per person.

Students can also benefit from this reduced rate with a valid form of identification, as well as persons with disabilities, and those accompanying them.

What are the best Sugar Loaf tours?

There are several Sugar Loaf day tours to choose from, depending on whether you wish to climb up the rocks that form the mountain or take the easier and more convenient option — the cable car.

Small-group Sugar Loaf tour

With no more than five other participants, you’ll start the steep hike up Sugar Loaf Mountain.

While this trek will challenge you, it will also invigorate your spirit and energize your body. Daredevils will love scrambling up the rocks that form the mount, safely guided by your tour leader.

On top of scrambling, you’ll also try your hand at climbing, using a rope to assist you in your ascent. Enjoy unique views that those who travel up the mountain by cable car miss out on, such as the “Philosopher’s Stone.”

Catch your breath at the peak, while admiring the city from above, before descending the easy way — by cable car.

Sugar Loaf cable car tour

If the thought of a strenuous hike has left you feeling like you may miss out on Sugar Loaf Mountain altogether, don’t despair — you can also ascend to its summit by cable car.

You’ll gain access to the Praça dos Bondes, where you can learn about the history of cable cars in Rio de Janeiro through a wide variety of media and artifacts.

Enjoy the flexibility of this self-guided tour by simply hopping on the cable car whenever you fancy and seeing the astounding landscape that forms Rio de Janeiro from above.

Sugar Loaf Mountain sunset tour

Leaving your hotel in the late afternoon, you’ll head to Corcovado Mountain, home of the Christ the Redeemer statue, where you can admire the almost 40-meter-tall soapstone sculpture.

This renowned symbol of Brazil took 9 years to build and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Moving on, you’ll travel through the lush greenery of the Tijuca Forest, where over 350 animal species reside.

Discover the colorful tiles that form the 215 Selaron steps, created by Chilean artist — Jorge Selarón as a tribute to the Brazilian population. Climb up Sugar Loaf Mountain, just in time to enjoy the romantic washes of the sunset from its summit.

Are there any combined tickets or tours including Sugar Loaf and other attractions?

Those who wish to see as much of Rio de Janeiro as possible should consider purchasing a combined Sugar Loaf ticket. This is the best way to pack more fun into your itinerary, visiting numerous locations in a few short hours.

You’ll save money versus booking several different tours and all of the organization is taken care of for you.

There is plenty to see around the city of Rio de Janeiro, so you'll never be bored on these tours. They are also perfectly timed so that you have the opportunity to explore each destination properly before moving on.

●    Sugar Loaf plus Corcovado and Selaron day trip: Experience the highlights of Rio, from the summit of Sugar Loaf to the intricate mosaic of Selaron, towering Christ the Redeemer statue and pristine beaches below.

●    Sugar Loaf plus Christ the Redeemer helicopter tour: Take to the skies and marvel at Brazil’s most astounding landmarks from above, including the lofty peak of Sugar Loaf, and the iconic Christ the Redeemer in a helicopter tour.

Is it possible to visit Sugar Loaf for free?

While most people enjoy the convenience of the cable car service, some choose to ascend the mountain on foot, which is completely free. The trail is steep and only suitable for those with a good level of fitness.

However, you’ll save yourself a pocketful of money and enjoy the experience more by choosing to walk.

There are several trails to choose from, all of which will lead you to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain while testing your endurance. You should allow 2 to 3 hours in total for your hiking trip.

Should you book Sugar Loaf tickets in advance?

Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of the most popular destinations in Rio de Janeiro and as such can get busy.

This may mean long wait times in order to purchase passes for the cable car, which is why it’s advisable to book your Sugar Loaf Mountain tickets online in advance.

You can be sure you’re securing the best price, compare additional attractions and avoid lining up to buy a ticket on the day, enabling you to spend more time enjoying the attraction.

What will you see inside Sugar Loaf?

Sugar Loaf is one of the most iconic sites in Rio de Janeiro and is situated on Guanabara Bay, which stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was originally named by the Portuguese in the 16th century when the sugar cane trade was thriving in Brazil.

The mountain was named after its resemblance to a sugar loaf — historic cones of sugar that were used to transport the substance from South America to Europe, until sugar cubes were invented.  

The mountain was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 and is just under 400 meters tall. This vantage point allows visitors to gain panoramic views of the buzzing city and its harbor below.

Sugar Loaf mountain was formed more than 600 million years ago from granite and quartz, and over the centuries has been used to protect the city from invaders. It became a tourist attraction in the 20th century, after the introduction of its cable car in 1912.

This was the third cable car line to be built in the world and has since transported over 40 million people to the summit.

Today, visitors can still use this historic cable car to ascend the mount. Alternatively, adventure enthusiasts may opt to use the steep hiking trails that weave their way up to the peak, enjoying unbeatable views of the city on the way up.

How to get to Sugar Loaf?

In order to reach Morro da Urca — the location of the cable car line up to Sugar Loaf Mountain — you can take the Line 107 bus from central Rio de Janeiro, which takes you directly to the starting point.

Alternatively, those traveling from the Copacabana neighborhood can opt for the Line 581, 583 or 104 bus, all of which head in the direction of Morro da Urca.

When is the best time to visit Sugar Loaf?

When booking Sugar Loaf tickets, you should consider visiting between June and October when the climate is milder, making for the most enjoyable experience.

During these months, temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius and the air feels less humid than at other times of the year. This is also the driest time of the year, which makes it the perfect season for a Sugar Loaf visit.

If escaping the crowds is your main concern, you should opt for a Sugar Loaf day tour that takes place in the early morning.

Toward the late morning and early afternoon, the summit can become particularly busy, with long queues for the cable car.

Alternatively, choose to ascend the mountain in the late afternoon to enjoy a golden sunset over the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Which other attractions can be visited in Rio de Janeiro?

Travel tips

  • Avoid the peak season of December to March in order to enjoy a more peaceful and authentic tour.
  • If your Rio de Janeiro itinerary is limited, opt for a combination tour, which lasts around 8 hours and includes all of the tourist hotspots in the city.
  • Once you’ve purchased your Sugar Loaf tickets, you have free reign to ascend its peak at a time to suit you. Travel to the site before 10 AM or after 3 PM, as between these times you may have to queue for up to 30 minutes to use the cable car.
  • If you’ll be ascending the mountain on foot, ensure you wear appropriate footwear, such as hiking shoes or comfortable sneakers.