Instagram favorite Pedra do Telegrafo should be firmly on your to-do list if you’re hiking Rio de Janeiro. Here’s what to know before you go!
Pedra do Telégrafo – One Of The Best Hikes In Brazil
You’ve probable seen photos on Instagram with people holding on to what looks like the edge of an overhanging cliff, with a sheer drop below them. If you’re interested in Rio de Janeiro hiking, this is one of the best places to start. It’s a pretty easy day trip and you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views of the beaches at Marambaia, Barra da Tijuca, and Recreio dos Bandeirantes.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Insta-famous Pedra do Telégrafo in Brazil (aka, the Telegraph Stone) — including how to get there, how long this Rio hiking trip will take, what to bring with you, and how to snap some great photos to remember your trip.
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Pedra Do Telegrafo Location
The Pedra do Telegrafo cliff is located in the beach area of Barra de Guaratiba within the Pedra Branca Massif state park, which was established in 1974 and is a protected area. It’s about 60km from Rio de Janeiro.
You’ll be hiking up the Morro de Guaratiba hill to get there, which is in the west of Rio de Janeiro and ascends to an elevation of 354 meters.
The famous rock at the top got its name as the “Telegraph Stone” due to the fact there was a WW2 outpost situated there which monitored potential submarine attacks on Brazilian military ships.
What To Take On The Pedra Do Telegrafo Hike
For any hike, you should be prepared for whatever the weather might throw at you. Wear comfy, closed-toe walking shoes – as depending on the weather, this steep trail can get slippery and muddy, so choose shoes with a good tread on them and avoid wearing flip-flops.
I recommend you take a small, comfy backpack (I use the Osprey Daylite Daypack) with some essentials in it to keep you comy and hydrated during your hike, such as:
- Plenty of water
- Light jacket or sweater
- Insect repellent
- Enough cash for transport and food
Remember that this is a protected area, so always stick to the trails (which are well signposted) and take any trash back with you.
Take a small amount of cash with you if you want to buy snacks – there are a few vendors at the top of the hill where you can buy drinks, water, and ice-creams.
How To Get To The Pedra Do Telgrafo Rock
If you’re staying in Copacabana, you’ll need to go to Barra de Guaratiba, which is the closest town to the Pedra do Telegrafo hike. It’s about 50 km away. You can make your way there by taxi or Uber which will cost you around $35 USD one way, or you can book a tour.
But for a much cheaper journey that makes you feel more like a local, I recommend you take the bus instead!
Getting there by bus (BRT)
- Go to Terminal Alvorada in Rio de Janeiro
- Take a bus towards Malto Alto station
- Change to bus 867 for Barra de Guaratiba and ride this to the last stop at Ilha de Guaratiba
Pro tip: If you’re unsure about any of these directions, always ask the bus driver or other passengers that are waiting – the people are really friendly here and this is a popular destination, so people will know which buses and stops you need on the way!
On your return trip, simply retrace your steps to get back to the Barra da Tijuca station.
What To Expect On This Hike
Firstly – I urge you to get up early and get to the rock as soon as possible!
As you’d expect, this hike is really popular with tourists, so get there as soon as you can – especially if you want to take lots of photos on the rock. The later you go, the longer you’ll have to wait in the queue to take pictures.
I’ve heard of people waiting up to 5 hours to get their shots for Instagram, and if you’re traveling in the middle of summer, this can be a brutally hot and unpleasant wait. There is shade at the top, but it’s still best to get there in the morning and avoid the crowds.
Once you’ve arrived at the Barra de Guaratiba bus stop, you’ll see signs that point towards Pedra do Telegrafo. Simply follow these signs through the streets, and you’ll come to the stairs that begin the hike.
You’ll wind your way through a favela, and then head upwards into the jungle.
Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for the hike, and be prepared for an upward journey the whole way. This isn’t a difficult hike at all, but you’ll need to pace yourself, especially if it’s a hot day. There are plenty of places to rest and enjoy the view along the way.
Bonus = it’s all downhill on the way back!
There aren’t any toilets on the way up the hill, so go before you leave! If you do need an emergency toilet stop, you’ll need to embrace nature somewhere off the track. Take some toilet paper in case, and a plastic bag to put this in when you’ve finished. Nobody likes to walk a track that’s strewn with used toilet paper – so don’t add to that problem.
How To Take Great Photos At Pedra Do Telegrafo
Once you’re at the top of the hill, one of the most popular things to do is take fun, optical illusion pictures on top of the anvil-shaped hanging rock. Don’t be suprised to see tourists in fancy clothing and dresses at the top posing for that perfect shot.
To get the best photos, I recommend timing your visit for either sunrise or sunset to get the best light. While you wait in the queue, it’s a good time to watch other people taking their shots, and plan out your poses and the right angles to capture those once-in-a-lifetime shots.
Check out other people’s photos of Pedra do Telegrafo on Instagram before you go to get some inspiration for your own pictures.
Here’s some photo inspiration to get you started:
If you’re traveling solo, there will be plenty of other people there willing to help you take some photos on the rock – and there’s usually a photographer on site who can photos for you too. Bring about $10 USD (+ a tip) if you want a few professional photos taken for you. You’ll be able to download these from a website when you’re back at your hotel.
Remember: Pedra do Telegrafo is a huge attraction, so be prepared for a lengthy wait at any time of day to get your photos taken.
Guided Tours To Pedra Do Telegrafo
If you love taking tours, there are plenty that can provide you with a great day trip to this famous hanging rock. Check out some of these popular options below:
In Summary – Hiking to Pedra Do Telegrafo
Hiking Rio de Janeiro offers a great opportunity to explore the beaches and forests, and meet some of the locals on the way. Allow a full day for the Pedra do Telegrafo hike, and take your swimming gear to enjoy the beautiful beaches in the area. Macumba and Grumari beaches are great for a refreshing dip after your hike!
I’d love to see some of your epic photos of the rock if you go hiking in Rio de Janeiro. Feel free to share them!
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