The delightful Tororó waterfalls of Brasilia


I DIDN’T EXPECT to be so amazed by the beauty of the Tororó waterfalls in the Federal District when Thiago asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go explore them.

“Sure,” I said. “Let’s go.” Little did I know that to get to the majestic 12-meter falls, we would have to hike down a steep and rocky hill for 20 minutes.

To get there you drive up to the Jardim Botanico area above QI 23 in the Lago Sul area of Brasilia. Turn right once you are up there and continue on the DF-140 road for around 15 minutes, passing two roundabouts. At the second roundabout, circle back and drive around 10 minutes until you see a turn-off on the right. Take that road, which will eventually turn into a dirt road. Near the end of it you will see signs pointing to the waterfall area.

The Tororó waterfalls are on private property, so cars have to pay a small fee of R$10 ($6) to park in a clearing. A small van is set-up there selling water, soft drinks and beers. Thiago and I bought two ice-cold beers and off we went down the very narrow trail to the waterfall.

The descent was anything but easy. Sharp rocks of varying sizes stick up out of the ground at various angles, making our journey perilous. We had to keep looking at the ground to make sure we did not step the wrong way on a rock and twist our ankles or lose our balance and fall down. To make matters trickier, I had on leather flip-flops, while Thiago had rather wildly taken off his sneakers and socks and was proceeding down the hill barefoot and happy-go-lucky!

“Stay bent over a bit and stretch your arms out close to the ground, so that if you fall you can cushion your fall,” said Thiago. “We need to walk like monkeys!”

Since I am taller, older and less fit than Thiago, I found it more difficult to assume that position. Huffing, puffing and sweating, we finally arrived at the bottom of the hill, after passing several groups of people climbing back up who had also come to enjoy the small river and waterfalls.

Signs along the way down warn hikers to not start any fires, to not camp out overnight and to take all trash out of the area.

At the waterfalls, Thiago waded into the pool at the foot of the falls, while I sat on a wooden log that stretched across the pool. Soon we were joined by a group of boisterous and friendly young Brazilian men who proceeded to climb up the rocks under the waterfalls and perch up there looking down on us.

Thiago eventually joined them up above and when I got bored waiting for him to come down, I waved and said, “let’s go!”

According to a local website, the ecological balance of the area is being threatened by the growing numbers of visitors to the falls and the many nearby housing developments and the planting of soya on a farm not far away.

If you live in Brasilia, this is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon hiking in the area. Just come prepared for the steep hike down, bring a change of clothes if you want to take a dip in the pool at the base of the waterfalls and don’t forget to take your trash with you when you leave!

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