Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls

Canaima National Park, Bolivar, Venezuela

About Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls

Hiking Distance: tour
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-11-20
Date last visited: 2007-11-22

Waterfall Latitude: 6.24997
Waterfall Longitude: -62.84686

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls were a compulsory bonus for us (and just about all visitors) as we entered the indigenous village of Canaima while bound for the world famous Angel Falls.

We were able to see this series of waterfalls from the air just as we were about to land in Canaima.

Canaima_060_11202007 - Salto Hacha fronted by another pair of tourists about to join our camp
Salto Hacha fronted by another pair of tourists about to join our camp

Then, we were also able to see these falls from across the shores of the Canaima Lagoon (La Laguna de Canaima) as well as from up close as we were both in our campamento (camp) as well as transporting to and from it.

From what we could tell, the cluster of powerfully wide waterfalls on the Carrao River (El Río Carrao) consisted of Salto Ucaima, Salto Golondrina, Salto Wadaima, and Salto Hacha (otherwise referred to as Ucaima Falls, Golondrina Falls, Wadaima Falls, and Hacha Falls in English).

There were also other rapids nearby such as Salto Ará though we were only able to see its mist rising above its top far in the distance of our camp.

In terms of orientation, Salto Ucaima was the one nearest to Canaima village while wide Salto Hacha was the furthest from the village.

We thought the most attractive of these waterfalls was Salto Hacha, which fell widely and was constantly in view from our camp.

Rutaca_flight_059_11202007 - Full context of the Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls just as we were about to land in the indigenous village of Canaima
Full context of the Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls just as we were about to land in the indigenous village of Canaima

Since we happened to be here when we experienced consecutive days of heavy overnight rainfall, we witnessed the transition of the state of the river, which in turn caused Salto Hacha to grow from a nearly segmented dual plume into a very wide thunderous torrent.

We met a Norwegian group who were camping with us, and they managed to go behind this waterfall on their own from our camp.

They said there were parts of the trail that were built up and I did notice what appeared to be some steps or other kinds of trail infrastructure near the falls from a distance.

However, this involved wading in parts of the lagoon, and we were told that the locals typically didn’t endorse this activity given the degree of risk without a guide.

Meanwhile, Salto Ucaima was said to be marginally tapped for local hydroelectricity.

Canaima_078_11202007 - Looking across a wide cascade and rapids comprising what I believe to be Salto Ucaima
Looking across a wide cascade and rapids comprising what I believe to be Salto Ucaima

During a quick tour of the indigenous Canaima village, we were able to walk past the village and towards a lookout (mirador) right at the brink of its drop.

While this view allowed us to better appreciate the power of the river from a relatively safe spot, the only way we could get frontal views of it were from the boat when we were shuttling across the lagoon from village to camp and back.

The remaining Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls between Salto Ucaima and Salto Hacha could only be seen directly by the boat transfer or from the air, which we alluded to earlier.

We were also able to see them partially from camp, but not a whole lot of them given the severe angle (as pictured a few paragraphs above).


The Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls reside in Canaima National Park in the Bolivar state. To my knowledge, there doesn’t appear to be an official governmental authority directly managing Canaima National Park. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, the closest authoritative source of information that I could find was the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.

Rutaca_flight_042_11202007 - Our first glimpse of the waterfalls of the Canaima Lagoon shortly before landing at the airstrip in Canaima
Rutaca_flight_048_11202007 - Another look at the Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls from the air
Canaima_001_11202007 - After landing in Canaima Airstrip, we were then led into the Canaima Village where we'd then catch a boat to our camp across the lagoon
Canaima_005_11202007 - Contextual view of the Canaima Lagoon Waterfalls on the Canaima side of the lagoon as seen from shore
Canaima_009_11202007 - A look at the boat that we were about to ride on to get to our camp across the Canaima Lagoon
Canaima_013_11202007 - Zoomed in on Salto Golondrina and Salto Ucaima
Canaima_021_11202007 - One of the segments of what I think is Salto Golondrina
Canaima_027_11202007 - Turbulent view of what I think are Saltos Golondrina and Wadaima
Canaima_031_11202007 - More direct view of what I think are either Saltos Wadaima and Golondrina or Golondrina and Ucaima
Canaima_042_11202007 - More direct view of what I think are either Saltos Wadaima and Golondrina or Golondrina and Ucaima
Canaima_051_11202007 - Getting close to Salto Hacha
Canaima_Campamento_Bernal_002_11202007 - Walking to our campamento
Canaima_086_11202007 - Julie checking out the Salto Ucaima from an overlook when we returned to the other side of the lagoon
Canaima_023_jx_11202007 - The view of Salto Ucaima from the overlook near Canaima Village
Canaima_036_jx_11202007 - Some folks from another tour swimming by the shores of the lagoon in front of our camp with Salto Hacha spilling in the background
Canaima_Campamento_Bernal_067_11212007 - Salto Hacha slightly more swollen due to constant rain the previous night
Canaima_Campamento_Bernal_089_11222007 - Salto Hacha swollen from consecutive days of heavy rains
Canaima_Campamento_Bernal_102_11222007 - Looking back at Saltos Wadaima and Golondrina or Golondrina and Ucaima in a more swollen state when we returned to Canaima Village

We were able to experience this waterfall automatically as part of our tour to Angel Falls.

Planes would land in Canaima where it’s possible to walk around town up to the brink of Salta Ucaima.

However, our tour took us across the lagoon where we crossed in front of all the main Canaima Lagoon waterfalls since our camp was on the opposite end of the lagoon from Canaima village.

For the manner in which we reached Canaima, we did a writeup about the logistics of our trip to Angel Falls, which you can read here. As for geographical context, Canaima was roughly a 75- to 90-minute flight from Ciudad Bolívar or Puerto Ordaz. Both of these intermediate cities are roughly 2 hours flight from Caracas.

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Right to left sweep of the top of the falls

Tagged with: canaima, lagoon, bolivar, venezuela, waterfall, angel falls, salto angel, kerepakupai meru, hacha, ucaima, golondrina, wadaima

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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