One of the tallest waterfalls in Brazil is the 340 m tall Cachoeira da Fumaça. It is one of central attractions in the gorgeous Chapada Diamantina mountains.

Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina is a region of breathtaking beauty. This is area with dry plateaus dissected by canyons which are covered with the precious Atlantic rainforest. Canyons are flanked with very tall cliffs.

Plateaus are formed from sandstone and diamond bearing conglomerates. In 1844 – 1870s here took place diamond rush.

Today in this area has been established national park. Here are found exotic, endemic animals and plants, caves and sinkholes and countless waterfalls.

Cachoeira da Fumaça, Brazil
Cachoeira da Fumaça / Augusto Pessoa, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Smoke Falls

One day in 1960 bush pilot George Glass (he was working for Presbyterian mission and transported people) took a detour while flying above Chapada Diamantina. And this was totally worth it – he at first noticed a cloud among the cliffs and then – very impressive waterfall falling into abyss.

Glass was not the first person noticing this waterfall – locals knew about it before.

This waterfall is formed by a thin stream. Water falls over an overhanging cliff, forming a single leap. Below the falls is small pool formed by the falls.

In dry periods of the year water may disappear altogehter but after heavy rains the stream becomes wide and powerful, air around the falls may be filled with mist.

Cachoeira da Fumaça, wind blows the falls sideways and upwards
Cachoeira da Fumaça, wind blows the falls sideways and upwards / Rafael Pereira, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

At first this waterfall was named after pilot – Glass Falls. Later though more popular became another name – Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Falls). This name comes naturally – the thin stream during the long fall is dispersed in the air and turned into mist. Sometimes wind cathes up the mist and waterfall goes upwards!


  1. Fumaça, Cachoeira da. World Waterfall Database. Accessed in the 1st August 2014.
  2. Colin Barraclough, Making nature their infrastructure, May 30, 2010. Accessed in the 1st August 2014.
Cachoeira da Fumaca on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 12.6007 S 41.4550 W
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 3.5 out of 10 stars
Where is located? South America, Brazil, Bahia, Chapada Diamantina region, Vale do Capão, Lençoís and Palmeiras municipalities, some 8 km (direct line) south-west from Lençoís
Alternate names: Glass Falls (name of the discoverer)
Name in Portuguese: Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Falls)
Height: 340 m
Drops: 1
Tallest drop: 340 m
Width: ˜ 8 m
Stream: ?

Landmarks of Brazil

Sunset at Iguazu Falls, from Brazil
Sunset at Iguazu Falls, from Brazil SF Brit / Flickr / 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

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

Cycling in Chapada Diamantina

A bicycle guide for 8 days cycling around the ChapadaDiamantina Nationa Park. Maps and information where to stay and special routes for bikes.

Northeastern Brazil

Comprehensive advice on the best of this region of Brazil. The best hotels for every budget, from beach resorts to country inns, restaurants, attractions and activities are detailed in over all the cities, towns and villages. How to enjoy the big cities safely. Shop-till-you-drop ideas for crystals, native handicrafts, Amazonian fetishes and more.

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