If seeing the best waterfalls in Brazil is on your South American bucket list, you came to the right place.
Brazil’s nature is so diverse, as it is home to the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon rainforest. With almost 60% of its surface covered in forests, Brazil is the most forested and biodiverse country in the world.
The country is well-known for its long, white sand beaches – do Ipanema and Copacabana sound familiar? But did you know that the rivers of Brazil are equally as impressive, and there are countless beaches on the banks of the Amazon river? Kilometres of streams running through inland Brazil create stunning waterfalls along the way.
Keep reading for the best waterfalls in Brazil that you can’t miss on your next trip.
Overview of the 9 Best Waterfalls in Brazil
Before you go chasing Brazilian waterfalls, you should know that most of them are in remote locations. The Amazon forest is still largely untouched, with no cellphone coverage. Bring bug repellant and cash to pay National park entrance fees.
Here is the list of the best waterfalls in Brazil for your next trip:
- Iguazu Falls, Paraná
- Tabuleiro Waterfall, Minas Gerais
- Salto Yucumã Waterfall, Rio Grande do Sul
- El Dorado Waterfall, Amazonas
- Caracol Falls, Rio Grande do Sul
- Buraco do Macaco Falls, Mato Grosso do Sul
- Couros Cascade, Goiás
- Fumaça Waterfall, Bahia
- Buracão Falls, Bahia
Read on to find out more about each of these natural wonders.
1 – The Iguazu Falls, Paraná
We can’t start this list with anything other than the UNESCO World Heritage Site Iguazu National Park and its breathtaking waterfalls – the Iguazu Falls. This semi-circular waterfall spanning over 2,700 m in diameter is situated on the border between Argentina and Brazil.
If you visit just one waterfall in Brazil, it should be the Iguazu Falls!
The Iguazu waterfalls consist of a system of 275 waterfalls, but there might be more or less depending on the season. The highest waterfall is called the Devil’s throat, and it is over 80 metres high.
The Brazilian side of the falls is located in the state of Parana. The closest town is Foz do Iguaçu, and the most common way to reach the waterfalls is on a two-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Iguazu National Park, which includes the waterfalls.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN FOZ DO IGUAÇU
2 – Tabuleiro Waterfall, Minas Gerais
Tabuleiro Waterfall was named the most beautiful waterfall in Brazil multiple times. It is not hard to see why! When you observe the cliffs around the waterfall, you’ll immediately notice why locals call this waterfall the Heart waterfall.
At 273 metres high, Tabuleiro waterfall is the third-highest waterfall in Brazil. It is recommended to visit this waterfall with a guide, as the trek to the upper part of the waterfall can be challenging. However, you can also choose to stay at the waterfall’s base and admire it from the lower area.
This waterfall is located in Minas Gerais state, and the closest town is Conceição do Mato Dentro.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN CONCEIÇÃO DO MATO DENTRO + TABULEIRO FALLS TOURS
3 – Salto Yucumã Waterfall, Rio Grande do Sul
Salto Yucumã Waterfall holds the record as the most extensive longitudinal waterfall at about 1800m long – only surpassed by the Iguazu Falls. While the falls are not very high, on average just 20m, the views are still spectacular, thanks to the pure length of these falls.
Salto Yucumã Waterfall is part of Turvo State Park, so you’ll have to pay an entrance fee to visit. The waterfall is located on the border with Argentina, but don’t worry, it is best seen from the Brazilian side, and the closest town is Tenente Portela.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN TENENTE PORTELA + SALTO YUCUMÃ REVIEWS
4 – El Dorado Waterfall, Amazonas
Cachoeira do El Dorado, also known as Aracá Waterfall, is Brazil’s highest waterfall, crashing down the cliffs from the spectacular 353m. However, this waterfall might be the one you only see in the photos, as it is one of the most challenging to reach in Brazil.
There is a reason a tour leading to El Dorado waterfall is called an expedition. It takes seven days to get to the waterfall through the Serra do Aracá State Park, starting in Barcelos city and includes sailing the river for two days and then hiking the mountains for four days.
To make it even more difficult, it is only possible to do this route during the rainy season. Make sure you pack appropriate gear for a long trek.
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5 – Caracol Falls, Rio Grande do Sul
Caracol Falls looks like it came straight from a fairytale. This waterfall crashes from the dense forest 130m down into the lower level, surrounded by lush greenery.
Caracol Falls are located in Caracol Park, and you will have to hike up a 750-step staircase to see the waterfall up close in all its glory. If that sounds too hard, there is also a cable car and a viewpoint for taking pictures.
The closest town to Cascata do Caracol is Canela, but it is just about 100km from Porto Alegre.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN CANELA + CARACOL FALLS TOURS
6 – Buraco do Macaco Falls, Mato Grosso do Sul
Buraco do Macaco Falls is part of the Boca da Onça trail of 8 waterfalls. It is quite unique as it looks like it could be a Mexican cenote.
Yes, unlike many waterfalls on this list, it is possible to swim in this waterfall, and it is rather pleasant. You can float in this incredible swimming hole, with the waterfalls showering over you.
Cachoeira do Buraco do Macaco is located close to the border with Paraguay, in Mato Grosso do Sul state. The nearest town is Bodoquena, about 250km from Campo Grande.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN BODOQUENA + BOCA DA ONÇA DAY TOURS + MULTIDAY TOURS
7 – Catarata dos Couros, Goiás
Catarata dos Couros is a waterfall complex with hundreds of cascading waterfalls of various heights, some reaching 100 metres. It is a popular spot for eco-tourism, as there are multiple trekking routes appropriate for all fitness levels, with natural pools along the way.
Officially, there is no entry fee to Chapada dos Veadeiros, but you might have to pay for parking. You can also get a local guide to lead you through the trek. The closest town to the waterfall is Alto Paraíso de Goiás, about 250km from Brasilia, the capital.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN ALTO PARAISO DE GOIAS + CHAPADA DOS VEADEIROS TOURS
8 – Fumaça Waterfall, Bahia
Fumaça Waterfall, also known as the Smoke waterfall, is the second-highest waterfall in Brazil, crashing from an impressive height of 340 metres. It gets its name from the clouds of spraying water enclosing the waterfall, creating a mystical, smokey appearance.
It is possible to admire this waterfall from the bottom or the top, but both require a bit of hiking.
Surprisingly the easier trek is to the top viewpoint. The Fumaça Waterfall is located inside the national park of Chapada Diamantina in the state of Bahia. The closest bigger town is Tanquinho, where the airport is.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN NEARBY FEIRA DE SANTANA + CHAPADA DIAMANTINA TOURS
9 – Buracão Falls, Bahia
We close the list with another swimming waterfall. It is only possible to visit Buracão Falls with a licensed guide on an hour-long hike, but it is well worth the trip. The waterfall is nestled in a dramatic canyon, about 80 metres high.
Once you reach the top of the waterfall, you can descend by rope on the side of the waterfall! If rappelling is not your thing, you can also walk down. It is possible to swim in the waterfall, which is a perfect way to refresh after the hike.
Buracão Falls is also located inside the national park of Chapada Diamantina. The closest town to the falls is Ibicoara.
TRIP PLANNING: FIND HOTELS IN IBICOARA + TOURS IN IBICOARA
Summary: 9 Best Waterfalls in Brazil
Brazil’s waterfalls are truly out of this world. You will find some of the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world, crashing over 300-metre-tall cliffs.
At the same time, you will find picturesque waterfalls with calm swimming holes to relax in. But we wouldn’t expect anything less from the world’s most biodiverse country.