We all seem to be inevitably drawn to waterfalls. Often nestled in dramatic sceneries, they reveal the wildness, power and endless movement of nature and life. Latin America ―a vast continent featuring some of the world’s most diverse landscapes― boasts some good examples that will definitely leave you in awe.
With the Andes mountains stretching from north to south and the Amazon rainforest covering a large part of its territory, waterfalls are a common natural feature that never fails to fascinate travelers.
Seeking some water splashing and vertigo while standing at the edge of a fall? This guide to Latin America waterfalls may be a good source of inspiration. Check out our tours and begin to plan your next trip!
Iguazu Falls (Argentina / Brazil)
This cluster of 275 waterfalls straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil is on the bucket list of everyone who intends to travel to Latin America. Framed by a lush rain-forest, the falls are protected by two national parks, one on the Argentinian side (holding two thirds of the waterfalls) and the other on the Brazilian side. From Argentina, visiting the waterfalls is all about close-ups, while Brazil offers wide panoramic views. With several trails suspended over the river, you can approach the waterfalls from different angles and spot monkeys, toucans, lizards and coaties along the way. Adventurers should take a speedboat and go for an exciting ride right to the bottom of the falls. But the highlight of Iguazu Falls is ‘Garganta del Diablo’ (Devil’s Throat), a staggering spectacle of 14 waterfalls up to 252 feet high (80 meters) that will take your breath away and leave you completely soaked! The best starting points for a trip to Iguazu waterfalls are Puerto Iguazu in Argentina and Foz de Iguacu in Brazil.
Angel Fall (Venezuela)
This waterfall holds a world wide record: it’s the highest uninterrumpted fall on Earth, dropping from an imposing table-top mountain at a height 3,211 feet (979 meters). It’s located inside Canaima National Park, an isolated and untouched tropical paradise in the south-east of Venezuela. Getting there is an adventure itself, as the place cannot be reached by land. First you need to take a plane to the village of Canaima (there are flights from five cities in Venezuela). Then, the most common option involves a 4-hour boat ride will lead you to the beginning of a hiking trail and within an hour, you’ll be standing right in front the majestic ‘Angel Fall’.
Kaieteur Falls (Guyana)
This powerful single-drop waterfall at the heart of Guyana is the country’s top natural attraction. Lying in the Kaieteur National Park, which protects a portion of the Amazon rainforest, this waterfall has one main drop and a series of minor cascades. It’s unique in the world due to its combination of height (822 ft / 251 meters) and water volume. Usually visited by small groups ―don’t expect crowds in this nature haven―, you can get there on a 45-minute plane from Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. The plane leaves you inside the park and there’s a short hiking trail to the waterfall.
Pailón del Diablo, Baños (Ecuador)
This majestic waterfall in the Ecuadorian Andes ―whose name can be translated as ‘Caulder of the Devil’― lies at only 40 minutes from the town of Baños, famous for its thermal baths and the gateway to many outdoor adventures in Ecuador. One of the attractions in this amazing Ecuadorian destination is to traverse the ‘route of the waterfalls’ (by bike or car), a descending path that visits different waterfalls and leaves this marvel of 262 feet / 80 meters for the end. One of the highlights of Pailón del Diablo is that it has a suspension bridge that allows staggering views, as well as a series of steps in the rock and four scenic balconies to admire the power and roaring sound of water from a close distance.
Tamul waterfalls (Mexico)
These are the largest waterfalls in the country, lying in the Huasteca Potosina, a region of outstanding natural wonders which definitely deserves a place on a list of beautiful Mexican destinations. The Tamul waterfalls boast a 344 ft / 105 meters drop, flowing into the turquoise waters of the Tampaon river. You can enjoy many ecoturism adventures here, from rafting and kayaking to canyon rappelling. Water lovers can also swim in the river. The best way to get there is to travel to the town of Ciudad Valles or to Tanchachin, a small village from where you can catch one of the boats to the waterfalls.
Gocta waterfall (Peru)
This 2,529 feet (771 meters) waterfall in the Peruvian Amazonas ―which is actually divided in two different falls― is among the highest on Earth. Also known as ‘La Chorrera’, it’s a rather new touristic destination. In fact, locals kept it as a secret spot till 2002, afraid of a series of myths and legends. Now, if you want to visit Gocta waterfall you need to travel to Chachapoyas, the gateway to the Amazonas, in the northwest of Peru. Once there, you’ll head to the village of Cocachimba and venture on a 5-hour hike through a cloud forest brimming with wildlife.
Salto Grande, Torres del Paine (Chile)
This dramatic waterfall on the Paine river may not be as high as the others in this roundup but deserves a place due to the imposing flow of turquoise glacial waters dropping from Lake Nordenskjöld into Lago Pehoé. Nestled within Torres del Paine National Park ―Chile’s most alluring natural wonder, featuring some of the best hikes in Patagonia― this scenic waterfall boasts a stunning landscape of jagged peaks as a backdrop. Though it depends on your location, reaching Torres del Paine usually involves taking a plane to Punta Arenas and a bus to Puerto Natales, the closest town to the park. Once inside the park, a short hike will lead you to a viewpoint where you can admire Salto Grande. Keep in mind that strong winds and cold weather can make the adventure a little unpredictable.