Cachoeira dos Primates, located in Sector B of Tijuca National Park, is a waterfall accessible via a trailhead in Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhood of Jardim Botânico.
The falls aren’t anything spectacular, but they can be a popular destination on hot summer days (aka every day during the summer).
- Location: Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro
- Waterfall elevation: 738 ft / 225 m
- Elevation change: 476 ft / 145 m
- Round trip distance from trailhead: 1.1 mi / 1.8 km
- Round trip time from trailhead*: 50 minutes
- Hiking Difficulty: Easy
- Water on trail: Yes
*NOTE: The time listed above is based on my own experience. Please remember that your time may vary greatly.
GETTING TO CACHOEIRA DOS PRIMATAS
- Accessible via public transportation: Yes
- Trailhead parking: Yes
- Trailhead coordinates: -22.963913, -43.230833
- Waterfall coordinates: -22.958578, -43.227953
The easiest access to Cachoeira dos Primatas is via the trailhead at the end of Rua Sara Vilela in Jardim Botânico. Here, you will find a small parking area with trash cans and a sign marking the trailhead.
The trail follows a well-defined path through the trees and over their roots as it leads you into the forest.
There are a couple spots where the trail forks, but these areas are clearly marked to point you in the right direction (hiking up to Corcovado – the Giant Stone Jesus mountain – is also an option via this trail).
About halfway up you’ll pass an area filled with huge boulders (many times taller than you), called Gruta dos Primatas (Primate Grotto). If you’re doing this hike in the summer and find yourself violently sweating after the first few hundred meters of hiking, then give yourself a couple of minutes to rest here.
Soon after the Gruta dos Primatas you’ll reach the lower falls.
There’s a small pool here you can get into if you so desire (not very deep), but it’s probably best to skip this and head up to the top. The last bit of trail turns left (straight will take you to Corcovado), climbs over some rocks and emerges in a large open area clearly marked by a sign: Cachoeira dos Primatas.
Your destination has a large flat(ish) rock area with a couple of pools trickling down to the lower falls you just came from. Hopefully it’s been a little rainy lately, because the flow (and water level in the pools below) can vary greatly.
When you’ve had your fill of monkey waterfall, head back the way you came and get yourself an açaí.
If you want a quick and easy hike or you’re looking to cool off somewhere a bit less crowded the beach, then Cachoeira dos Primatas would be a worthy investment of your time.
You could easily do the hike in your sandals and bathing suit, but I would suggest wearing shoes (but you do you).
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