One of the most sublime images of Rio de Janeiro is the imposing granite monolith, Sugarloaf, jutting authoritatively from the shores of Guanaraba Bay. The summit of Pão de Açúcar (as it’s known in Brazil) is reached by ascending in two separate gondolas, each affording 360-degree panoramic views of the glamorous city, undulating mountains, and broad, sandy beaches below. The first of these “flying diamonds” takes you from sea level to the first peak, Morro da Urca. From this midway point you can hike one of the many lush trails or even catch an evening concert at the amphitheater located there. Next, you board a second aerial tram for a three minute ride to the top of iconic Sugarloaf, nearly 1300 feet above the water. A roundtrip ticket will set you back about $20, but the experience is undeniably worth the price.
Click on this link to view a video I shot on the ride up to Urca Mountain. If you look closely you can see Sugarloaf (with its gondola) in the distance too.