Nonhuman primates are frequently housed in double-tier arrangements with significant differences between the environments of the upper and lower-row cages. Although several studies have investigated whether this arrangement alters monkeys' behavior, no studies have addressed the two most notable differences, light and height, individually to determine their relative importance. This experiment examined how rhesus and long-tailed macaques allocated their time between the upper and lower-row cages of a 1-over-1 apartment module under different lighting conditions. In Condition A, monkeys' baseline degree of preference for the upper- and lower-row was tested. In Condition B, the lighting environment was reversed by limiting illumination in the upper-row cage and increasing illumination in the lower-row cage. In both conditions, monkeys spent more time in the upper-row cage, thus indicating a strong preference for elevation regardless of illumination. The amount of time that monkeys spent in the lower-row cage increased by 7% under reversed lighting, but this trend was not significant. These results corroborate the importance of providing captive primates with access to elevated areas.