If you want to have an unforgettable experience in Rio de Janeiro, the Cable Car on Pão de Açucar is undoubtedly the right choice. Going all the way up the hill on the cable car is fun, exciting, and in the end, provides you with one of the most beautiful views of the Wonderful City, as Rio is particularly known.
It is located in the neighborhood of Urca, connecting Praia Vermelha (or, Red Beach) to the Hill of Urca, the first stop of the cable car next to the hill of Pão de Açúcar (or, 'sugar bread' Hill). The opening of the first part of the cable car took place on October 27, 1912. Three months later, it was already going at the top of the Pão de Açucar. Fun fact: When they started building it, there were only two cable cars in the world. The first one was at Monte Ulia in Spain and was built in 1907. The second one was in Wetterhorn, Switzerland, and built in 1908. The cable car in Rio is known today as one of the top engineering landmarks in Brazil.
It took over 400 workers to build the cable car, each climbing on foot to the top of the hills. Even today, it is possible to see the pins that were placed by these climbers on the rocks, on their way up to Pão de Açucar.
The Cable car Station is located in the neighborhood of Urca, a quiet, safe, residential area with military facilities and the University of Rio de Janeiro. You can get there by public transport, using the bus lines 107 (From City Center), Circular Line 2 (from Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Gávea), Circular Line 1 (from Orange, Cosme Velho, Botanical Garden and Gávea) and line 513 (at Botafogo and Humaitá subway station). But, of course, there is always the option of taking a taxi or an Uber.
To make the most of this tour, I advise you to buy your ticket online. This will allow you to schedule the date you wish to visit the attraction. Keep in mind that if you decide to buy over there, be patient because you are probably going to wait in a big queue. The box office to purchase the tickets is open from 8 am to 7h50 pm. The cable cars leave every 20 minutes. The first climb starts at 8h10 am, and the last descent is at 9 pm.
If you are a big fan of movies, as I am, you are probably going to remember the cable car scene from the movie 007 Moonraker (1979). In this film, the British secret agent James Bond, played by actor Roger Moore, defeats his enemy Teeth of Steel, played by Richard Kiel, right on this spot.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.