Nearly two-thirds of the earth is covered in water, and cascading water falling over rocks and cliffs is one of nature’s greatest gifts. From powerful cataracts plunging over steep precipices to multi-step cascades tumbling gently into a series of pools, here are some of the world’s most amazing waterfalls.
1. Iguazu Falls
- Address: Misiones Province, Argentina
- Elevation: 195 m
- Height: 82 m
Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Together, they make up the largest waterfall in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The flow of the falls can reach a maximum of 450,000 cubic feet (12,750 cubic meters) per second during the rainy season from November to March. The minimum flow occurs during the dry season from August to October. The average annual flow is approximately 62,000 cubic feet (1,756 cubic meters) per second. The falls occur along a wide expanse where the Iguaçu River, flowing west and then north, tumbles to the edge of the Paraná plateau before continuing its course in a canyon. Above the falls, islands and islets divide the river into numerous streams that feed the cataracts. Much of the river tumbles into a narrow, semi-circular chasm called Garganta do Diabo; the effect has been described as that of an “ocean plunging into an abyss”. Excellent views of this section (also called Union Falls) can be obtained from the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. Most of the individual falls are broken halfway by protruding ledges; the resulting deflection of the water, as well as the resulting spray, creates a fan of rainbows. From the foot of Garganta do Diabo, a curtain of mist rises some 500 feet (150 meters) into the air.
2. Niagara Falls, Canada/United States
- Elevation: 187 m
- Area: 43.59 km²
- Weather: 22 °C, Wind S at 6 km/h, 94% Humidity
The Niagara River serves as an international border between the USA & Canada. There are two distinctive cities. Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada and Niagara Falls New York, United States of America. It is estimated that 12,000 years ago when the falls were formed, the edge of the falls was as much as seven miles further down river than it is today. Until the 1950s, when the flow of water began to be controlled, the brink of the falls moved backward an estimated three feet every year because of erosion. The river below Niagara Falls averages 170 feet deep. Daredevils who go over the falls usually hit the bottom of the river before popping back to the surface. Niagara Falls has been one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners in the world since promoters for the area helped institute “honeymooning” as a tradition in the mid-nineteenth century. Twelve million tourists from all over the world visit Niagara Falls every summer.
Cost: The value of the Canadian dollar is extremely low these days and trading at about .80 cents USD. A $200.00 per night hotel room in Canada will only cost $159.00 US.
3. James Bruce Falls, Canada
- Address: Gibsons, BC V0N 1V6, Canada
- Height: 840 m
James Bruce Falls is the tallest of several dozen waterfalls which stream down the cliffs at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet. The falls are fed by a small glacial remnant situated above 5,000 feet above sea level, which likely sustains a consistent volume of water throughout the year. However, due to the small drainage area, the volume of water present in the falls is consistently insignificant. The falls occupy a narrow crevice in the lofty cliff face for over half of its descent, and as a result cannot be clearly seen from Princess Louisa Inlet in entirety, but is apparently wholly visible from trails which head further up the Loquilts Creek drainage.
4. Pu’uka’oku Falls, Hawaii
- Address: Kaunakakai, HI 96748, United States
- Height: 840 m
The slopes on the northern coast of Molokai host some of the world’s tallest waterfalls. A short distance east of Olo’upena Falls is Pu’uka’oku Falls, which is believed to be the second-tallest waterfall in the United States. Pu’uka’oku Falls is also shown in the accompanying portion of the Kamalo, Hawaii topographic map. It is located a short distance to the east of Olo’upena Falls. A total height of 2756 feet is possible for Pu’uka’oku Falls because the stream appears to begin its steep descent at an elevation of approximately 2800 feet. Falls can be observed from the sea – there are tourist companies offering guided boat tours along this rugged, extremely impressive coast. One can go closer to the falls and experience a mist falling from this wonderful nature monument. Even more impressive sight opens from a helicopter. Boat ride and helicopter though require good weather conditions.
5. Kaieteur Falls
- Elevation: 482 m
- Total Height: 741 feet/226 metres
Kaieteur Falls is the world’s largest single drop waterfall by the volume of water flowing over it. Located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park, it sits in a section of the Amazon rainforest included in the Potaro-Siparuni region of Guyana. Your journey to Kaieteur Falls starts with an aerial view as your aircraft circles over the falls and the National Park before landing on a short airstrip. The short nature trail with three vantage points affords you breathtaking views of the falls, each better than the last and all a part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rivaled by few in the world when taken into account its combined height and the sheer volume of water from the Potaru River flowing over its precipice at any given moment, Kaieteur Falls further distances itself from the crowd of most spectacular waterfalls in the world for its remoteness. Surrounded by pristine rainforest, simply reaching this wonder requires hiring a tour company that will charter a plane in order to even reach a trekking point that accesses the falls.