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Caracol Falls

Caracol Falls in sunset
Caracol Falls in sunset / Gabriel Figueiredo Fontes, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  In short

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Brazil is Caracol Falls. This 131 m tall waterfall by far is not the tallest or largest but it has a rare quality – there are excellent viewpoints where the beauty of falls and surrounding forest and mountains can be observed.

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GPS coordinates
45.4642 N 9.1908 E
Location, address
South America, Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Canela municipality, approximately 7 km north-west from Canela town
Name in Portuguese
Cascata do Caracol
Height
131 m (?)
Drops
2
Tallest drop
130 m (131 m)
Width
25 – 35 m
Stream
Rio Caracol

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Falls have formed on the basalt cliffs of Serra Geral volcanic formation. Waterfall has two cascades. The upper cascade consists of multiple smaller cascades, its total height is approximately 10 m. After some 100 m comes the second – by far the largest plunge. Here the stream falls over an overhanging cliff edge.

It is not entirely clear whether the height of 131 m includes both cascades or is just the height of the main, tallest cascade.

Upper part of waterfalls starts in the pine forest altitudinal zone (with quite a few gorgeous araucarias) but the lower end is located already in the moist Atlantic Forest.

Caracol Falls, Brazil
Caracol Falls / Tiago Fioreze, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Rio Caracol here enters the Vale de Lageana valley – beautiful, almost pristine, forest covered canyon with steep cliffs in both sides. Few kilometres further below Rio Caracol forms another impressive waterfall – the 70 m tall Lageana Falls (Cascata de Lageana). This waterfall is located in narrow canyon and its beauty is harder to observe, thus it is a lot less popular tourist destination.

On photographs the area around Caracol Falls may seem to be pristine and remote but in reality this is very popular tourist destination with nature trails, 27 m tall observation tower, cable car, tourist train, restaurant, shops. Caracol State Park (25 ha) has been established around the falls and this is one of the most popular natural landmarks in Brazil, possibly the second most visited after the famous Iguazu Falls.

Upper cascade of Caracol Falls, Brazil
Upper cascade of Caracol Falls / Afilhosp, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

This popularity could be explained by the vicinity to major cities and definitely – by the unusual beauty of this waterfall which becomes especially beautiful during the sunset.

There is another waterfall in Brazil (on the border with Guyana) with similar Portuguese name – the mysterious and remote Kurutuik Falls (Cachoeira do Grande Caracol).

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