Cerro Pan de Azúcar

March 10, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

The cross on top of Pan de Azúcar on a cloudy day.Doom or salvation Cerro Pan de Azúcar ("sugar bread hill") is the third highest hill in Uruguay and quite close to Piriápolis. With a height of 423 meters (1388 ft) it comes behind Cerro de las Ánimas and Cerro Catedral, which are respectively 501 meters (1644 ft) and 514 meters (1685 ft) high. On top, it has a cross, which is a well-known landmark and can be seen from a long distance. For me, when travelling from Montevideo to Punta del Este where I live, it's one of those landmarks that make me feel like I'm getting close to home.

The 35 meter high cross on the summit of Pan de Azúcar.Cross

It is possible to climb the hill and visit the cross. The hike itself is a rewarding trip which offers great views. From up close the cross, you can appreciate its size. Built in concrete, it was an idea of Uruguayan poet Juan Zorrilla de San Martín (he's the guy that's on the 20 peso bill and one of the most famous poets in Uruguay's history). Fun fact: all articles I found about the cross say this he conceived this cross in 1933, together with a clergyman called Engels Walters. I find that peculiar, since the guy supposedly died in 1931. Anyway, to make a long story short, the cross is almost 80 years old. It's 35 meters (115 ft) high, and can be climbed by a spiral staircase, which can be seen below.

The spiral staircase within the cross on top of Cerro Pan de Azúcar.Spiral staircase When you reach the top of the staircase, you can enter the crossbeams, which have some benches and a opening in the form of a cross. I had to conquer some inner demons to walk in the beams. Having vertigo and a wild imagination clearly showing my mind's eye the 20 meters of empty space below an 80-year old concrete crossbeam did make me swallow a few times.

Enjoying the view from within the crossbeam of the cross on top of Pan de Azúcar.Enjoying the view The whole trip to the top is quite an undertaking and requires at least a moderate physical effort, but it's very rewarding. Apart from the cross, the views are quite stunning.

View from Pan de Azúcar with the Rio de la Plata in the distance.View  More photos of Cerro Pan de Azúcar can be found in the gallery


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