Tourism and Tours

Itatiaia National Park | The Jewel of the Brazilian Highlands

Itatiaia National Park

The Itatiaia National Park is a conservation area that protects important remnants of the Atlantic Forest Biome. Located in the Itatiaia Massif in the Mantiqueira Mountains, between the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, it includes part of the cities Itatiaia and Resende in Rio de Janeiro, and Bocaina de Minas and Itamonte in Minas Gerais.

The Itatiaia Park is the oldest national park in Brazil, created on June 14, 1937 by the then President Getulio Vargas.

For visitation purposes, the Itatiaia National Park is divided into: The Itatiaia Plateau, The Lower Regions, and the Visconde de Maua Region.

In the Plateau:In this region, the predominant vegetation is characterized by altitude grasslands and the main natural attractions are: the Agulhas Negras peak, the Shelves Massif, Aiuruoca Valley, the Altar Stone, the Couto Stone, Hermes’ Wing, the Bell Stone and the Seated Stone; besides being the starting point for the Ruy Braga, Sierra Negra and Fallen Ranch trekking paths.

In the Lower Regions:The predominant vegetation is dense ombrophilous forest (Atlantic Forest) and the natural attractions are the trails through the forest that lead to many waterfalls. Some of which, like the Itaporani and Maromba, stand apart for their large volume of water as well as beautiful natural pool formations. The enchanting Bridal Veil waterfall (on the Maromba river) is 40 m high, forming a cold and serene veil of mist at its base. The Three Peaks trail crosses through the forest and leads to a 1,622 m overlook of the Paraiba River Valley. Other beautiful attractions include the Foundation Stone and the Last Goodbye overlook. The starting point for the waterfall trails is the Visitor´s Center, where several resources can be found, including a scale model of the park, maps, and films about the park.

The Visconde de Maua Region:this is one of the main tourist poles of Rio Janeiro, with many hotels and restaurants. The main attractions of the Itatiaia National Park in the Visconde de Maua region are the Escorrega and Santa Clara waterfalls. This area will soon have an Information and Control Checkpoint as well as a Visitor´s Center

Landmass: 224.96km²
Entrance fee: $7USD (R$ 34,00) for foreign nationals
Best time to visit: June-August

Brazil’s oldest national park, Parque Nacional do Itatiaia was established in 1937. It sits in the southeast of Brazil, nestled in the Mantiqueira Mountains. Home to flowing rivers, lakes, waterfalls and alpine forests, this park is hugely popular with bird watchers.

The main draw to the park is undoubtedly its hiking trails which offer jaw-dropping views of the surrounding landscape. There are two sections of the park: high and low. Both are well worth visiting as they offer very different experiences. The high area can be reached through an access point around 35km from the main entrance.

During June to August, the temperatures decrease and the rainfall also eases off. This makes it a very desirable time to visit Itatiaia National Park, especially if you are going hiking or rock climbing.

When To Go to Itatiaia National Park

The Park can be visited every day of the year, but the best time to visit the plateau is in the winter, when there is less rain, the paths are safer to walk and the view of the valley is privileged by the clear skies. While the lower regions can be enjoyed all year round, the greater incidence of rain in summer not only swells the waterfalls adding to their natural beauty, it also adds to their natural danger, keeping in mind the risk of flash floods and sudden surges of water from storms upriver.

How To Arrive in Itatiaia National Park

Visitation Schedules

The admission times are different for the Plateau and the lower regions of the park:

  • On the plateau- admission is from 07h00 to 14h30. Visitors are permitted to stay no later than 18h00.
  • In the lower regions- the schedule for admission starts at 08h00, and visitors can stay until 17h00.Administrative seat of the Park (lower regions)

    Starting from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, the visitor should follow the Presidente Dutra Highway (BR 116) to the town of Itatiaia, at km 318. The trip takes about 2h 30min from Rio de Janeiro and 3 hours from Sao Paulo.

    Plateau Region

    Departing from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, the visitor should follow the Presidente Dutra Highway (BR 116) to Engenheiro Passos at Km 330. From this point follow the BR 354 highway in the direction of Caxambú for 26.5 km, to a place known as Garganta do Registro at an altitude of 1.669 meters. From there, 14 km of dirt road leads to the Marcão station, and another 3 km will take you to the Rebouças Shelter.

    Below is a table with the distances to the two entrances to the park, gate 1 and the Marcão gate. The first part of the list refers to the distance from the three major metropolitan centers of the region, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. The second part lists the cities near the park where visitors can find hotels and hostels, as well as reference points for access to the Itatiaia Park.

The bus terminals nearest the park are in Resende and Itatiaia at 24 km and 5km, respectively, from the entrance to the Lower Region of the park. In the center of Itatiaia city, there is a circular bus that goes to the park.

There is no regular bus line to access the Plateau region of the park. From the Resende Bus Station visitors can take a bus to Caxambu / MG and get off early at the Garganta do Registro (the border between the states of Rio and Minas). From this point to the Marcão gate is 14 km of dirt road (uphill).



The single ticket is R$ 34,00. Brazilian visitors have a 50% discount R$ 17,00.

Visitors who stay in the Itatiaia National Park for more than one day are entitled to a 50% discount on weekends and holidays and a 90% discount on weekdays (discounted from the value of the second day’s ticket).

For example:

  • Weekend – (Saturday and Sunday) = R$ 34.00 + R$ 17.00 = R$ 51.00 – single ticket.
  • Weekend + 1 day in week – (Saturday + Sunday + Monday) = R$ 34,00 + R$ 17.00 + R$ 3,00 = R$ 54.00. Single ticket
  • Weekend and holiday – (Saturday, Sunday, holiday) = R$ 34.00 + R$ 17.00 + R$ 17.00 = R$ 68.00. Single ticket
  • Weekdays (two consecutive days) – R$ 34.00 + R$ 3.00 = R$ 37.00. Single ticket


  • Children under 12 and adults over 60 have free entry.
  • The Itatiaia National Park does not accept checks or cards.
  • The parking fees will not be charged temporarily.

BUS ROUTE ITATIAIA X NACIONAL PARK – Viação Penedo (24) 3381-8861

Departures from downtown to Visitors Center – 07:00a.m / 12:00p.m / 3:00p.m / 6:00p.m
Departures from downtown to National Park entrance – 10:20a.m
Departures from National Park entrance to downtown – 11:00a.m
Departures from National Park Visitors Center to downtown – 08:00a.m / 1:00p.m / 5:00p.m / 7:00p.m

How to get there: Head to Itatiaia city and catch the circular bus which heads to the park. Alternatively, you can travel from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Minas Gerais. Simply take a bus to the city of Itanhandú then transfer onto a bus heading for Itamonte. From there you can get a taxi to the park.

Things to Do at Itatiaia National Park

  • Walking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Trekking
  • Animal Watching
  • Picnic in the permitted areas
  • Authorized overnight stay in shelters and camp sites
  • Swimming in the waterfalls
  • Biking in permitted areas


Before you program your trip to the national park, check if the route (trail or crossing) you wish to do is currently accessible.

Attention:In the rainy season observe the orientations of park management about the possibility of flash floods, which can make it impossible to access the waterfalls.

By accessing any of the entrances of the park, remember

  • The entry of pets is prohibited;
  • Use only authorized trails (Check at the gate if the trail you wish to do is currently accessible);
  • There are no restaurants in the park;
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed;
  • Do not smoke on the trails or in the forest because of the risk of fire;
  • There are no authorized camping areas in the lower regions of the park;
  • Starting fires in natural areas is strictly prohibited;
  • The removal of species of flora is not permitted;
  • Feeding animals (even fruits) is strictly prohibited;
  • The visitor is responsible for all trash produced, take everything with you.

Note:For those visiting the Plateau Region of the park for the first time, the park has, as an option, a guide program for visitors. The guide can enhance the experience of the visit, making it safer, and providing information about the park and its main attractions. Even with a guide, it is necessary that visitors read and sign the Terms of Responsibility presented to them at the gate of entry.

Landscape at Itatiaia National Park

Itatiaia National Park is a ruggedly beautiful region of lush forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, alpine meadows, and both primary and secondary Atlantic Rainforest. Though 70 mi (110 km) from the Atlantic Ocean, the park covers a broad range of elevations rising to 9,100 ft (2,800 m). This range in altitudes contributes to a most diverse variety of habitats from lower elevation forest to alpine meadows surrounded by granite cliffs.

Climate Itatiaia National Park

In the Pico das Agulhas Negras, temperature reached up to -10 °C (14 F). In the months June to August (austral winter), the decreases in temperature and rainfall too well, leaving the dry climate and very cold, guaranteed visitors, in a country with almost 93% of area located in the tropical zone, the observation of phenomena such as frost on the fields and plants of the park and also the precipitation of snow in the coldest days of local, rare now. In June 1985, was a memorable and intense precipitation of snow, which was unusual for the region, and the third highest precipitation of snow in Brazil.

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