Urban Hiking on Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf)

20 09 2012
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunday 16 September 2012

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Allow me to say that hiking in Rio maybe tricky.

First, there was the blind jump off that lies inside the parking lot before the beach area with a signage called “Pista Claudio Coutinho”. Inside this park, the trail towards the summit starts with an established 2km pathway that would take you to either Morro da Urca (220 meters high) and or Pão de Açúcar (396 meters high).

Lots of runners, hikers and other outdoor enthusiast abound. You will see some kids testing their skills as they wall climb within the area. You will also enjoy seeing some “saguis” or the small monkeys and other interesting flora and birds.

After you have been mesmerized by its beauty, you will be surprised looking at the approx 85 degree ascend to Morro da Urca and the puzzling trail of Pão de Açúcar as it ends at the established pathway after 2km.

I thought of not liking to start my “walk in the park” break-in hike with an abrupt ascend.  I then decided to proceed with my plan – Pão de Açúcar. My second plan anyway as I have told myself was to hike Morro da Urca the same afternoon. I was assured by the Rio Guide book and the information officers, Lucas and America at Copacobana beach that Pão de Açúcar will only take about 1.5 hours and Morro da Urca is very much lesser.

As I have reached the end of the 2km pathway, I realized the second trick. There was this big cemented structure, and the trail goes just beside it. One needs to pass sideways. Mind you, just keep on the left so that you will not drop directly onto the shoreline! I followed the typical “soil” trail, but I almost got lost at a fork. Good that I heard 2 hikers chit chatting while they ascended or else, I will be one of the statistics of Pão de Açúcar who got injured or so. I went back to the fork and met 1 group who chose the boulder pathway on the right instead of the ‘soil” trail on the left. I tailed them since they had a local travel agency lead who was guiding them on the trail.

The third trick was that I could not reach the summit if I was not in full wall climbing gear. This was confidently verbalized to me by the team lead of the group that I have met. I was only in my running attire. And going back alone onto the same path was not safe at all. Without second thoughts, I decided to join their team who had the itinerary of traversing Pão de Açúcar then descended via the Italian-made bubble shaped glass cable car. This cable gave a 360-degree view of the surrounding areas. I obviously swallowed the financial consequence against security and safety concerns. After all, I was there to have a Rio adventure!

My final trick was that I too hit 2 summits in 1 day – of Pão de Açúcar and Morro da Urca. Thanks to the cable car that run 1400-meter long between these two peaks!

HOW TO GET THERE: This will depend where you will come from. Say Copacabana, go to Bus station 2 and take bus # 511. Going back to Copacabana should be bus#512. Otherwise, get the local Rio Guide book for more bus information and or take the cab (just make sure you have extra cash since some cab charges more than the hotel’s fee).

WHERE TO GET THE RIO GUIDE BOOK: From the international airport, go to the information desk and ask for the map and the guide book. Tiago, the officer will surely assist you!
HOW TO CONTACT THE LOCAL AGENCY: Go to this link >> http://adventuretourismrj.blogspot.com.ar/2011_03_01_archive.html

HOW TO END THE HIKE WITH A FESTIVE MOOD: Go to Pizzeria Laguna, a local eatery in the area before reaching Pista Claudio Coutinho park. Or better yet, boost your energy by eating here before and after hiking, just like what I did! h




3 responses

21 09 2012
andré chiavegatto

Good job! kkkkk
Rio is full of tricks, but also full of good people!

22 09 2012

Graças a você! H made it to Sugar Loaf 🙂

22 03 2016


Urban Hiking on Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) | AdventureH's Weblog

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