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Best and Highest Waterfalls of Ecuador

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Ecuador has some splendid waterfalls that are well worth a visit. There are some powerful torrents not far from Quito, some lovely falls near Otavalo, and Ecuador’s highest waterfall is situated close to Banos. There are also some pretty falls well worth a visit in the Mindo area, and one not far from the jungle town of Misahualli. Here are some of the biggest and best waterfalls that Ecuador has to offer.



Pailon Del Diablo

The Pailon Del Diablo waterfall is known in English as the Devil’s Cauldron, and it is less than five miles away (4.3 miles, 7 kilometers) from the Central Andes town of Banos. This waterfall is the highest in the Ecuadorian Andes region and it is quite a sight to behold. The waterfall is actually made up of three waterfalls, and the largest measures approximately 100 meters in height. Viewing points are strategically placed for visitors to enjoy some of the best vantage points of these spectacular falls. One enjoyable way to visit this waterfall is bicycling to it from Banos, but it is also possible to take a taxi and a tour.




Cascada de Peguche

Slightly north of the market town of Otavalo, in Ecuador’s Northern Andes, Cascada de Peguche is well worth a visit. The waterfall is approximately 50 feet (18 meters) high) and it is considered by the local people to be sacred. It plays an important part in ceremonies around the summer solstice. The waterfall is fed by water coming off the mighty Imbabura mountain. The falls can be visited by bicycle, public transport or on a tour, and they are two miles (three kilometers) north of Otavalo. There are good trails to get to the waterfall, once in the vicinity.




Waterfall Taxopamba

Also near to Otavalo in the Mojanda area, Cascada Taxopamba can be found. It is approximately four miles (6.4km) away from the town. The waterfall is a pretty sight and it has two levels, and though not the tallest waterfall in Ecuador, the natural vegetation around it makes for some lovely photographs and a pleasant visit. It is best to visit this waterfall via private transportation.



Great Waterfall Pita

Not far from Quito at the Molinuco ecological resort there is an opportunity to see a quite dramatic waterfall. There are various trails within the Molinuco reserve, and these trails take you by a number of waterfalls that are also worthwhile, such as Condor Machay and Molinuco Chorrera. Wear sturdy shoes on the trail to the Pita River Great Waterfall, as the paths can sometimes be wet and slippery. The Great Waterfall itself is 60 meters high and is a very impressive sight to behold. The nature in this place is also very interesting. It is best to take private transport to this place.



Nambillo Waterfall

This waterfall is situated not far from the cloud forest town of Mindo, north of Quito. It is formed by the Nambillo River and it is 50 feet (15 meters) high. There is a lovely refreshing natural pool at the base of the waterfall to enjoy for a swim in the crystal-clear waters. Those with a low aversion to risk can sometimes be seen making jumps from certain points into the water below, though we don’t recommend you try this. The waterfall is not far from the tarabita, which is also worth a ride. The tarabita is a type of cable car system that was designed to help visitors get a bird’s eye view of the Mindo Nambillo Ecological Reserve.




Reina Waterfall

This is another fabulous waterfall close by to Mindo and one of the most popular waterfalls to visit on a trip to this town. If you only see one waterfall in the Mindo area, this is the one you should go to. The waterfall is set amid beautiful cloud forest, and if you are lucky on the way to it you may get to see some interesting bird life and butterflies.



Cascadas de Latas

If you’re visiting the town of Misahualli, Cascada de Latas is well worth a look. The walk to the waterfall is approximately 15 minutes away from Misahualli via bus, and the path follows the river upstream. The walk takes about an hour to reach the falls, and there are a number of delightful spots for swimming along the way. You can expect to get wet, and at some points, wading may be required.



A Quick note on San Rafael Waterfall

In your research on Ecuador’s waterfalls you may read about the San Rafael waterfall. This was for a long time Ecuador’s largest waterfall and a splendid sight, located on the Coca River. However, in 2020 this waterfall disappeared, and a sinkhole appeared to have swallowed up a good deal of its water source. It is not clear why this happened and investigations into this are continuing. In any event, there is no longer a waterfall at San Rafael to go and see.




Insider recommendations for visiting waterfalls in Ecuador

Our recommendation for trips to some of Ecuador’s best waterfalls include being sure to realize that there is a good chance that you’ll get wet. Some of the waterfalls have a lot of spray coming off them, and you may get soaked just standing at some of the viewing points of the more powerful ones. If you’re bringing a phone or camera, be sure to carry it in a waterproof bag or case. Wear shoes with good grip or better still hiking boots for the trails. In many cases you can swim in pools at the base of the waterfalls, so it is well worth bringing something you can swim in just in case. If any of these waterfalls grabs your interest, why not let us know and we can arrange a visit to it during your Ecuador customized trip of the region. Our customized Ecuador tours take in the best that Ecuador has to offer and take into account your specific personal interests and preferences too. Get in touch with us to start planning your Ecuador tour today.

By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local tour guides and travel specialists, we are happy to provide expert and free trip planning advice, no commitment fee involved.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders