While wanderlust has always been my (everyone’s?) thing, lately I’ve been specifically craving nature sights like something fierce. (Perhaps, I’m worried they’ll soon disappear.) Rainbow-hued beaches, the Grand Canyon, and any and all of these forest-bathing locales are calling to me very loudly. Recent buzz around Niagara Fall’s breathtaking winter freeze turned me onto a yet another natural wonder: waterfalls.
I’ve done the research and so I implore you to not, as TLC once urged, “stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” Instead, venture (and adventure) to these seven thrilling waterfall sites situated all over the globe. Or you know, just view the pictures below because even images of nature have been proven to improve body positivity. I believe it.
Keep scrolling for epic hydro-centric inspiration.
1. Igazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Legend has it that this 1.7-mile-long stretch of powerful waterfalls so impressed then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt that she immediately exclaimed, “My poor Niagara!” Igazu is a natural border between Argentina and Brazil, and though it can be experienced from both sides via multiple paths at various heights, as well as by boat, there’s a difference between the two experiences: The Brazil side offers stunning panoramic views ideal for photography, while the Argentina side offers more of an up-close-and-personal experience. Your choice!
2. Horsetail Falls, Yosemite National Park
For a few short weeks starting in mid-February, this California waterfall presents as an incredible optical illusion known as the “Firefall.” As the sun sets, it hits the water in just such a way that the fall is illuminated in shades of orange and red, mimicking the appearance of hot lava. This phenomenon can be tricky to catch, however, as it only happens under specific weather conditions and for about 10 minutes a day. But damn if I’m not going to try and see this mood-boosting wonder. Someday.
3. Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
This small South American country is adjacent to Venezuela and isn’t much of a tourist hub, which is surprising given that the impressive Kaieteur Falls are within its borders. They are remote: To get there you need to board a twin-propeller plane in the city of Georgetown, or you can book multi-day hikes to the falls for more of an active adventure. Bonus: Extensive exploration of the area’s rainforest is included in the hike.
4. Angel Falls, Venezuela
This beauty is actually the tallest waterfall in the world. It flows over Auyán-tepui mountain, which is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Canaima National Park. Getting there can be tricky—you’ll need to take a three-hour river-boat ride from Canaima camp, and then engage in an approximately one-hour hike to the base of the falls. But note: the US Government recently issued a travel advisory for Venezuela due to civil unrest and crime.
5. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
Here, the Zambezi River is over a mile wide, and the falls plummet 354 feet. It provides a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and is surrounded by the very greenery the river feeds. Unlike several of the waterfalls on this list, Victoria Falls is very tourist-friendly—there are hotels, restaurants, and campgrounds in the area, plus a myriad of ways to enjoy a visit including sunset boat tours, walking tours, bungee jumps, and zip lines. And here’s a “try it if you dare” challenge: Take a swim in the Devil’s Pool, which hovers at the edge of the falls, 350-feet up.
6. Gullfoss, Iceland
The Gullfoss waterfall is located along what’s known as The Golden Circle, a popular tourist route in the southern part of Iceland. Its name means “Golden Waterfall” because on sunny days the sediment-heavy water takes on a flaxen hue. Even when frozen, which it’ll be if you visit during the winter, views of this natural, two-tiered spectacle are stunning.
7. Niagara Falls, US and Canada
Niagara Falls—actually a collection of the three waterfalls Horeshoe, American, and Bridal Veil—is arguably the most famous waterfall in the world. And that means it’s easy to visit and a major tourist destination. In the spirit of American adventurism, Niagara Falls has, at times, been viewed as an object to conquer: In 1901, a 63-year-old school teacher named Annie Edson Taylor decided to descend the 174-foot height of Horseshoe falls in a barrel. She survived, but the practice is, obviously, now illegal. How about some killer ‘grams instead?!
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