We’ve told you all about our favourite lakes and our favourite islands, but what about waterfalls? We as travellers often talk about powdery white sand beaches, cool snow-capped mountains and dazzling freshwater lakes, but we forget to list waterfalls. Water careening off of a cliff and landing in a crystal clear pool has always wooed travellers, and you’ll often see waterfalls listed as sites to see on tourist maps around the globe. They’re the best place to cool off after a long jungle hike, they’re usually secluded and peaceful, and they make a lot of noise! Here are 5 of our favourite secret waterfalls.
1. 7 Sisters Waterfall – Grand Etang National Park, Grenada – We just hiked to this one recently and we’re pretty sure that before reading our post about it, most of you hadn’t heard of the 7 Sisters (aka St.Margaret Falls). The great thing about this waterfall is that the hike in is easy! After parking your car (or hopping off the bus) on the main road, you just follow a windy set of bamboo stairs deep into the Grenadian rain forest. You can hear the falls after about 10 minutes on the trail and after a total of about a half hour walk, you’re there. There are 7 tiers to explore, though most visitors only see the bottom two because the top five are a bit more difficult to reach. If you’re ever in Grenada, make sure to stop by 7 Sisters Waterfall for a quick (and easy) dip in its beautiful pools.
2. Khlong Chao Falls – Koh Kood, Thailand: These falls will always have a special place in our hearts because this was the first waterfall we ever saw in our travels. Khlong Chao is located on the once deserted island of Koh Kood, Thailand. Since we visited, roads have sprung up, resorts have been built and trees have been chopped, but from what we’ve heard, Khlong Chao falls still remain a peaceful jungle oasis. They are easy to get to and yet they are so surrounded by rainforest that you feel as if you’ve hiked for hours to find them. Once at the falls, there are plenty of large boulders around the central pool, making this a great place to bring a picnic. Spend some time swimming and admiring the cascading waters while listening to the sounds of monkeys, birds and insects deep in the jungle.
3. Ravana Falls – Ella, Sri Lanka: Just 5 kilometers south of Ella on the main road, these 25 meter high falls crash down the mountainside forming dozens of pools on the way down. You can climb up 4 different tiers before reaching the top pool. From the top, you’ll have beautiful views of Sri Lanka’s hill country. This is a great place to meet and mingle with locals, especially on the weekends when villagers bathe, do their laundry and dance on the edge of the lagoons.
4. Kuang Si – Luang Prabang, Laos: In our opinion, these are the most beautiful falls in the world. Sure, Canada has Niagara and Brazil has Iguazu, but Laos has Kuang Si and for sheer beauty, these falls can’t be beat. It’s the spectacular colour of the water that sets this place apart from anywhere else we’ve seen. The surface is like a painting of powdery translucent turquoise that is so mesmerizing that it will draw you in like a fly to a light. Many of you have probably heard of this one, but we just had to put it on the list. If you haven’t heard of it, Kuang Si is worth the trip to Laos in itself. Just be sure to get here early because swarms of tourists cloud these waters every day from about 10 am on.
5. Bibi Fatima Falls & Hot Springs – Yamchun, Tajikistan: What makes these falls so great? They’re hot! Bibi Fatima is a holy hot spring set right next to a massive waterfall. Visitors enter into a cave (completely naked) where numerous mini falls cascade into a crystal clear central pool. The water is extremely hot and you can put your head under a natural steam shower that shoots from a stalactite hole in the jagged ceiling of the cave. Tajikistan is a muslim country so bathing times are split, 30 minutes for men, then 30 for women. The springs are famed for helping fertility and there are numerous rituals played out in the cave, the main one states that you must crawl into the smallest crevice, head first, put a small stone in your mouth and keep it there until you leave. I passed on the fertility treatment!
(Sorry, no photo of this one…everyone was naked!)
Waterfalls have always been a favourite day trip for us and we continue to be amazed by natural showers all over the world. Most of us have heard of places like Victoria, Niagara and Iguazu and while we’d love to see them all one day, we find the little hidden falls to be just as interesting. It’s always rewarding to feel like you’ve discovered a place for yourself, or share a secret only with the locals, and waterfalls are a great place to meet people, picnic and relax. We’ll continue to explore waterfalls as long as we’re exploring the world and we hope to share more dazzling pools and tumbling rapids with you soon.