Peak Prateleiras mountain in Itatiaia National Park, Brazil

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Parque Nacional do Itatiaia

Top choice in Rio de Janeiro State

Brazil’s oldest national park, Itatiaia shelters a stunning variety of landscapes, from dense rainforests to spare and rugged upland peaks. Most visitors head for the park's more accessible lower section, where numerous short trails lead through lush greenery to waterfalls and natural swimming holes. Serious hikers and climbers find endless excitement in Itatiaia's wild, remote high country, reached by a tortuous unpaved road, while nature lovers relish the park's abundant flora and fauna, from orchids to monkeys to tropical birds.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rio de Janeiro State attractions

1. Agulhas Negras


Parque Nacional do Itatiaia's highest peak, Agulhas Negras (2791m) gets its name – meaning 'Black Needles' – from the serrated form of its imposing…

3. Prateleiras

4.14 MILES

In the upper section of Parque Nacional do Itatiaia, this jumble of massive boulders is one of the park's highest peaks (2548m) and a favorite climbing…

5. Cachoeira Santa Clara

5.36 MILES

Among the nicest and most accessible of Mauá’s dozen or so waterfalls, this one is a 10-minute drive or a 40-minute walk northwest of Alto Maringá via the…

6. Itaporani Waterfall


Accessible via a 750m trail a few kilometers up the road from park headquarters, this broad series of falls tumbles over rocky shelves into a deep emerald…

7. Véu de Noiva Waterfall


Reached by a 500m trail through the forest, a few kilometers up the road from park headquarters, this 40m-high waterfall tumbles down a cliff face into a…

8. Cachoeira do Maromba

7.07 MILES

Just below the point where the lower park road dead-ends, Maromba's waters surge through a rocky gorge into a sun-dappled natural swimming hole.