Unfortunately for everyone who’s too broke to travel, waterfalls are one of those things that you have to see with your own eyes. The reason is that even the most seasoned photographers with the best equipment can’t do justice to the scale and beauty of a great waterfall. So, if you really want to see what makes them so majestic, you actually have to fork up the money to buy the plane tickets and get there.
With that in mind, we created this list of 15 of the most spectacular and jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfalls from around the world. It might take you a few hours of hiking or driving to get there, but the sight of these natural wonders will be more than worth it.
Angel Falls: Located in Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Venezuela’s eastern savannahs, Angel Falls (Salto Ángel in Spanish) is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall (979 meters).
Victoria Falls: This waterfall, located in southern Africa, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the continent, and it’s easy to see why. Located on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls boasts the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
Niagara Falls: On the border between the state of New York and Canada’s Ontario province, Niagara Falls is a stunning tourist favorite made up of three different waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.
Iguazú Falls: Located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, it’s the largest waterfall system in the world. The name Iguazú means “big water” in the local Guaraní language.
Gullfoss: This unique waterfall is located in southwestern Iceland, and it’s part of the Golden Circle tourist route that also visits Þingvellir National Park and the Haukadalur geysers. It might not be that tall or that wide, but standing right next to its rushing waters is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Agua Azul: Only an hour away from the Mayan ruins of Palenque, the Agua Azul waterfalls are a must-see in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. They’re a series of falls hidden deep in the jungle and known for the brilliant turquoise blue of their waters.
Cachoeira Buracão: This one-of-a-kind waterfall, discovered only in 2001, is located in Brazil’s east, in Bahia’s Chapada Diamantina National Park, and getting here involves hours of trekking and rappelling.
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls: The fourth-largest waterfall along a national border, Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is located on a river between Vietnam and China. It’s a popular tourist destination in the region, allowing visitors to get closer to the 30-meter waterfall on rafts.
Havasu Falls: This beautiful blue-green oasis tucked away in the Grand Canyon is only accessible to lovers of long desert hikes. It is also notoriously difficult to get a permit for, but seriously worth it.
Multnomah Falls: Falling on the opposite end of the difficulty spectrum, Multnomah Falls is only a 30-minute drive from Portland, Oregon. A picturesque bridge allows visitors to take in its beauty from up close.
Baatara Gorge: This stunning waterfall, also known as the “Cave of the Three Bridges,” is located 76 kilometers away from Beirut, Lebanon. The water falls 255 meters down into a sinkhole behind three natural stone bridges.
Tumpak Sewu: This breathtaking waterfall, whose name means “a thousand waterfalls” is one of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets. Located in the main island of Java, the water falls from multiple points along a cliff, creating a curtain-like effect.
Ryuzu Falls: Located in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, Ryuzu is a majestic waterfall best viewed in the fall, when the surrounding trees change color, and the leaves’ yellow, orange, and red shades make for a truly stunning spectacle.
Kalandula Falls: A five-hour drive from Angola’s capital, Luanda, this gorgeous sight is usually skipped by tourists, but it’s well worth the trip.
Akaka Falls: One of the most iconic sights in Hawai‘i Island, Akaka Falls is located at the state park of the same name and features 135-meter drop. Its lush, tropical surroundings, along with waterfall’s own beauty, are truly something to behold.
What are you waiting for? These waterfalls, found in all corners of the globe, are waiting for you to explore them.
Cover picture by Asa Ransom House
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