The best way to go to the top of Pão de Açúcar / Sugar Loaf Mountain is via cable cars. These leave every 30 minutes and can carry as many as 75 passengers. When going up to Sugar Loaf Mountain, the glass-paneled cable cars actually have two stages, totaling 1,400 meters. The car first brings you to Urca Hill, up 215 meters, where you can see gorgeous views of Niteror Bridge, Corcovado Mountain and Guanabara Bay. You can also buy your souvenirs and snacks at this stop while you are waiting for the next ride to the top. The second cable car will bring you up to the top, which is another 395 meters. The Cable Cars first offered their services in 1912, so you also get to experience history. Engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos was instrumental in the introduction of this important tourist amenity.
The best time for you to make your way up to the top is during the late afternoon so that you can catch the stunning sunset. It is undoubtedly unforgettable.
For the adventurous, there is another option in getting to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. For those who want to reach the peak on foot, there are hiking trails that can prove a challenge to the avid climber. Along with nearby mountains – Urca and Babilonia, there are over 250 routes you can choose from. As for Sugar Loaf Mountain, you can hike up Stop Chimney (which is an easy climb with 7 pitches) and Ibis (which usually is a two-day climb where climbers can sleep on the ledges after the first day's climb). Aside from this, you can climb through Lagartao (which features a combination of traditional and bolted climbing) and Italianos (which is a well-protected face climb).
A word to the wise: Be sure to buy your ticket for the cable car on the way down. This provides you with the option of riding on your way down. This is important to note since you cannot buy tickets when you are at the top.