Activated carbons (ACs) prepared from tucumã seed (Astrocaryum aculeatum) were used for 2-nitrophenol removal from aqueous solutions. The ACs were characterized by elemental analysis, FTIR, N2 adsorption/desorption isotherms, TGA, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity balance, and total of acidic and basic groups. The ACs showed to have hydrophilic surfaces and they presented high specific surface areas (up to 1318 m2 g−1). In batch optimization studies, maximum removal was obtained at pH 7, contact time of 30 min, adsorbent dosage 1.5 gL−1 and temperature of 50°C. The general-order kinetic model and Liu isotherm model best fit the kinetic and equilibrium adsorption data with a maximum adsorption capacity of 1382 mg g−1 at 50°C. Effect of temperature and thermodynamic studies revealed that the adsorption processes of 2-nitrophenol onto ACs are dependent on temperature and are exothermic and spontaneous, respectively. About the applicability of the ACs for treating simulated effluents, the tucumã seed-activated carbon showed an excellent outcome in the treatment of simulated effluents, evidencing its high efficiency for phenolic compound adsorption. Tucuma seed-ACs showed to be cost effective and highly efficient adsorbents for efficient removal of 2-nitrophenol from aqueous solutions.