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Latin America is dissected by vast river systems cutting their way through mountain chains and volcanically lifted uplands. In many places as they crash over cliffs and precipices on their journey to the sea, they take the form of stupendous waterfalls, thick with foam or a veil of light spray. Here are our top five, every one of which merits the effort it takes to get there: by light aircraft, by canoe, on foot, by road...

 

1. Iguazú Falls

First on our list has to be, of course, the vast curtains of water creating Iguazú Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina, extending over 2.7km through tropical rainforest.

Iguazú Falls, Brazilian side

2. Angel Falls

Almost as stunning, this time for the height of its drop (979m) is Angel Falls in the remote sabana grande, Lost World highland plateaux of Venezuela.

 

Angel Falls Venequela

3. Fumaça Falls

Fumaça Falls in the Chapada Diamantina, in the interior of Bahia, Brazil, an area of tablelands and rivers beloved by walkers and adventurers. Its name in English is “Smoke Falls” so called because the water breaks up into a veil of tiny droplets.

Fumaca Falls, Brazil

4. Gocta Falls

Gocta Falls, also an impressive drop of 771m, falls in two stages into the eponymous river below, in a remote spot where the Andes meets the Amazon in northern Peru.

Gocta Falls, Peru

5. Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls in the Pakaraima highlands, deep in the densely forested interior of Guyana, the drop is of a mere 251m but it extends across an impressive 100m.

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

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