Sapo Falls and Sapito Falls

Canaima National Park, Bolivar, Venezuela

About Sapo Falls and Sapito Falls


Hiking Distance: 3-4km round trip
Suggested Time: 1.5-2.5 hours

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

Waterfall Latitude: 6.2549
Waterfall Longitude: -62.84677

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Sapo Falls (Salto El Sapo in Spanish) and Sapito Falls (Salto El Sapito meaning “Little Sapo Falls” in Spanish) were waterfalls tumbling into a lagoon that seemed to be separate from the larger Canaima Lagoon.

Even though they were apparently on the Carrao River (El Río Carrao), this particular lagoon felt a bit more secluded and smaller than the main one.

Sapo_Falls_052_11202007 - Sapo Falls
Sapo Falls

The larger waterfall of the waterfalls (Sapo Falls; see photo above) was interesting in that it allowed us to see and feel the falls from its backside.

As a matter of fact, the trail itself passed right behind Sapo Falls as we went from one end of the wide waterfall to its other end.

We also got to cool off from the equatorial tropical heat in a large plunge pool fronting the falls.

So in addition to the waterfall’s attractiveness, it also served as a swimming hole.

Sapo_Falls_029_11202007 - Sapito Falls
Sapito Falls

Further adding to the waterfall’s allure was the presence of Sapito Falls, which sat in a lush recessed opening next to the larger Sapo Falls.

Part of the Angel Falls Experience

I have to believe that both Sapo Falls and Sapito Falls were only visited by tourists since we noticed quite a few other tour groups sharing this falls with our group.

In fact, we experienced Sapo Falls as a typical part of our itinerary for the Angel Falls experience.

Our visit was part of a side tour on the day we arrived at our camp.

Once we got to camp, we had an entire day to get oriented and relax.

Sapo_Falls_027_11202007 - Context of Sapito Falls and the more hidden Sapito Falls with people cooling off in the large red-tinged plunge pool
Context of Sapito Falls and the more hidden Sapito Falls with people cooling off in the large red-tinged plunge pool

Towards the late afternoon, a tour guide from our camp took us on a hike to both Sapo and Sapito falls though I don’t recall if it was scheduled or not.

Nevertheless, it really didn’t feel like we exerted ourselves much on this side tour.

I understand that the trail for this waterfall was in large part thanks to the work of Tomás Bernal who apparently built this trail.

Another interesting bit about this waterfall and its large lagoon was that the water itself had a bit of a reddish color.

Little did we know that this was going to be a common feature further along our Angel Falls trip when we saw the same red-tinted color on the Churun River deep into the river transport part of that visit.

Beyond Sapo Falls

Sapo_Falls_084_11202007 - Looking over the brink of Sapo Falls and the context of the Carrao River
Looking over the brink of Sapo Falls and the context of the Carrao River

Our hike to Sapo Falls also included a continuation of a slightly longer loop hike taking us up to its brink.

After having our fill of the far and back side of Sapo Falls, we went back through the trail along the backside of the falls before continuing the ascent up to the plateau responsible for this waterfall.

Along the way, we were even lucky enough to see an iguana resting on a rock on top of the falls.

Up at this plateau, we could see that the terrain around us largely was flat with the exception of the step that created both Sapo Falls and Sapito Falls.

Sapo_Falls_079_11202007 - An iguana chilling out on a rock somewhere upstream of Sapo Falls
An iguana chilling out on a rock somewhere upstream of Sapo Falls

I guess that would be a consistent characteristic with the tabletop mountains we saw in the distance (i.e. tepuy; albeit on a smaller scale here).

In any case, when all was said and done, we spent about 2.5 hours to take in both waterfalls, swim, the brink of Sapo Falls, the waterfall’s plateau, and take plenty of photos.

Authorities

Sapo Falls and Sapito Falls 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.

Canaima_036_jx_11202007 - Technically, if we wanted to cool off, we could have just taken a dip at our camp, which was near Salto Hacha.  However, we were in the mood to do something a little different away from the camp.
Sapo_Falls_021_jx_11202007 - Sign in Spanish explaining some common sense advice about a visit to Salto El Sapo
Sapo_Falls_002_11202007 - Our first look at Sapo Falls
Sapo_Falls_016_11202007 - Zoomed in on the main part of Sapo Falls
Sapo_Falls_033_11202007 - Looking away from Sapo Falls towards the rest of the lagoon where more people were cooling off
Sapo_Falls_039_11202007 - The trail behind Salto El Sapo
Sapo_Falls_022_jx_11202007 - Another look at people on the trail behind Sapo Falls
Sapo_Falls_025_jx_11202007 - On the other side of Salto El Sapo after taking the trail that went behind it
Sapo_Falls_067_11202007 - Another look back across Sapo Falls from its far side
Sapo_Falls_072_11202007 - The brink of an upper tier of Sapo Falls (or did they claim this was Sapito Falls?)
Sapo_Falls_082_11202007 - Looking down over the brink of Sapo Falls towards that beach that we were chilling out at earlier
Sapo_Falls_086_11202007 - Looking further upstream of Sapo Falls, which revealed to us a mostly flat plateau

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We saw this waterfall automatically as part of our Angel Falls tour.

For more information in partaking in the Angel Falls experience (and hence this waterfall), see the Angel Falls page.

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.

Left to right sweep of the lagoon with the falls in the background and lots of people swimming in the lagoon itself


Right to left sweep of the other side of the falls

Tagged with: canaima, lagoon, bernal, angel falls, venezuela, waterfall, salto angel, kerepakupai meru, sapo, sapito, campamento, hike



Visitor Comments:

Glad to see the falls again! (El Sapo Falls) January 6, 2009 3:16 pm by Sally Callaghan - A long while ago I visited El Sapo Falls, not knowing what was in store for me, it was the most magical place and provided me with memories I will never forget. The Mosquitos were huge however and staying at Ureyen (I think thats how it is spelt) was a fantastic experience too but the… ...Read More

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