Waterfalls are caused by an undercutting of rock (more commonly, a mountain) and water erosion. The uppermost eroded layer of rock hangs ever so slightly over the mountain causing a turbulent surge of water to fall over the mountain and plunge deep into a bed of water. With every droplet, the pounding water erodes deeper and deeper into the surface of the ground. As a consequence when we free fall from a 300-foot cascade, our toes do not touch the ground. While free falling may not be on your bucket list, viewing and swimming in waterfalls are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
Keep your eyes peeled because some of the most unique and awe-inspiring waterfalls are just around the river bend and contrary to the TLC lyrics, you should go chasing them.
Located in the Rio of Damajaqua, in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, the 27 climbable cascades ('charcos' in Spanish) have become a must-see attraction for fearless adventurers to the Northern Corridor mountain range. The hour-long hike and strenuous swim up the cascades is followed by the only two viable options down: to jump or slide. Damajaqua Cascades excursion groups provide tourists with guides, equipment and supervision; the waterfalls provide the fun!
China's Huangguoshu Waterfall is the largest in Asia, spanning 255 feet high and 331 feet wide. During flood season, the enormous waterfall torpedoes at warp-speed into a 36 feet deep, rhinoceros shaped basin called the Xiniu pool. What sets this wonder apart are its various vantage points; tourists can view the waterfall from above, behind, below and the side. Located behind the waterfall, the Shuiliandong Cave provides tourists with a unique breath-taking view of the entire park.
In 1933, when American aviator, Jimmie Angel crash landed on Auyantepui, a tabletop mountain in Venezuela, he did not know he would discover the world's largest waterfall. Angel Falls ('Salto Angel' in Spanish) has a height of 3,212 feet and is located in Canaima National Park in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State, Venezuela. Canaima, only accessible by plane from Ciudad Bolivar and Caracas airport, offer extraordinary wildlife and jungle treks. From Canaima, excursions to Angel Falls can be made on foot or by canoe. While a crash landing is no longer necessary, Angel Falls is a waterfall well worth the adventure of getting there.
Four times the width of the Niagra Falls, the Iguazú Falls is one of the most popular destinations for tourists of South America. Iguazú Falls was formed by a volcanic eruption that left a large crack in the earth between the Brazil State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones. This eruption resulted in the formation of 275 cascades, with drops ranging from 200-269 feet, separated by various islands. The boundary between Brazil and Argentina is known as the Devil's Throat ('Garganta del Diablo' in Spanish) and is the most famous cascade for its tremendous drop (269 feet), gorgeous view of all 14 falls, and distinctive ocean spray.