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Eldorado Falls (Aracá Falls)

Eldorado Falls, Brazil
Eldorado Falls / Arquivo FVA

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 0.8736 N 63.3397 W
No:517        (list of all attractions)
Category:Waterfalls
Values:Geology, Visual
Rank:3
Address:South America, Brazil, northern part of Amazonas state, south-eastern rim of Serra do Aracá
Alternate names:Aracá Falls (misleading as there are Aracá Rapids on Aracá river)
Name in Portuguese:Cachoeira do El Dorado, Cachoeira do Eldorado
Height:353 - 365 m
Drops:1
Tallest drop:353 m
Width:15 - 30 m
Stream:Igarapé Preto (Preto stream)

Although there are reports about taller waterfalls in Brazil, Eldorado Falls currently are declared to be the tallest ones. These 353 m (at least) tall falls are truly spectacular and are located in spectacular natural setting.

Serra do Aracá

This waterfall is located on the rim of Serra do Aracá - southernmost plateau of Guyana Highlands, the only tepui entirely in the area of Brazil. This sandstone plateau rises more than one kilometre above the Amazonian plains and is isolated from the outside world by vertical walls. Summit of this plateau has numerous rare and unique species of plants and animals, many smaller waterfalls and caves including world's deepest cave in quartzites - the 671 m deep Abismo Guy Collet.

The fascinating legend about El Dorado - the ancient golden city of South American - often is referred to this location. Some consider that near the base of Serra do Aracá some centuries ago was Lake Parime with the golden Manoa City near it. According to legends this lake dried out some centuries ago and now the lake bed and the golden city are covered with forest.

This remote tepui was one of the least explored areas of South America until the late 1980ies.

Over the rims of this large plateau (approximately 25 by 17 kilometres) are falling many spectacular waterfalls - Desabamento Falls, Anta Falls, Surpresa Falls and others. The largest and tallest though are Eldorado Falls.

Eldorado Falls, Brazil
Eldorado Falls / Screenshot from Youtube video Maior Cachoeira do Brasil, Moacir.R.Cruz

Description of waterfall

Eldorado Falls have formed on Preto stream - fairly large river, which falls over the rim of plateau at Monte Tantalita. As the stream reaches the rim of cliff, it becomes more shallow and wider (around 15 - 30 metres) and then falls down in the abyss. Water falls through the air, gradually turning into mist. Closer to the base it hits some cliff ledges but otherwise its free fall in not interrupted. At the base is small pool.

Falls are more impressive in April - September, during the rainy season.

Eldorado Falls, Brazil
Eldorado Falls from above. Group of tourists in the forefront. / Screenshot from Youtube video Cachoeira do Eldorado em Barcelos-AM, Moacir.R.Cruz

Falls were measured in 2001 by an IBAMA (environmental authority in Brazil) expedition - then the resulting height of falls was 365 m. Now more oftenly is given slightly smaller figure - 357 m.

Currently falls are hard to access but nevertheless rather many tourists manage to come here and there is even a muddy trail on the summit of tepui, linking the best views on the falls.

Map

See Eldorado Falls on the map of Brazil!

Landmarks of Brazil

Pelourinho - historic centre of Salvador de Bahia
Pelourinho - historic centre of Salvador de Bahia / José Luis Ruiz, / CC BY 2.0

Brazil is enormous, diverse country with many amazing and unique attractions. Especially impressive are the diverse natural landmarks - many surprising geological monuments and areas with unique and endemic plants and animals. Few know it outside the country - but there are many beautiful historical cities. Many beautiful monuments of architecture have been created in Brazil in the 20th century.

Waterfalls and rapids

Iguazu Falls from air
Iguazu Falls from air. Brazil to the right, Argentina - to the left / Gorkaazk, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

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