This Incredible Waterfall in the Amazon Is Four Times Taller Than Niagara Falls

Water flows from Kaieteur Falls at 23,400 cubic feet per second.

pilot flies over the iconic Kaieteur Falls

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Kaieteur Falls is so dizzyingly vast and so powerful, the water looks as if it's falling from the edge of the world.

The giant waterfall is located on the Potaro River in Kaieteur National Park, within Guyana’s region of the Amazon rainforest. Imagine water dropping from a vertical rock face four times the highest point of Niagara Falls at 23,400 cubic feet per second — but whereas its North American counterpart has been altered for hydropower generation, Kaieteur remains all natural.

At 741 feet, the impressive falls is known as the world’s largest single-drop waterfall by the volume of water flowing over it. By no surprise, Kaieteur is also among the most powerful waterfalls in the world.

According to legends told by the Indigenous Patamona people, Kaieteur Falls is named in honor of a chief named Kai who offered himself as a sacrifice, paddling his boat over the raging waterfall to appease the great spirit, Macunaíma, and save his people. Other folklore — which was passed along to Charles Barrington Brown, the British geologist who "discovered" the falls 1870 — tells a different story as to how it got its name. In this version, the word "Kaieteur" translates to "old man falls," named so because the family of an old, flea-infested man sent him over it in a boat when they no longer wished to take care of him.

Kaieteur Falls is known for its appearance in Werner Zerhog's epic aviation documentary, "The White Diamond." It has also been featured in several TV shows, including David Attenborough's Life on Earth, River Monsters, and Deadly Adventures.

Kaieteur waterfall with rust-colored water plummeting with force
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The falls are especially remote, surrounded by the lush rainforest of Guyana. Despite being so isolated, visitors can access the area by chartering a plane and following a hiking tour to the top. There is even a special place to land — Kaieteur Airstrip, just a 15-minute walk from the falls — and it's often used by plane tours run directly from Georgetown's two airports: Eugene F. Correia International Airport and Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

According to Guyana Tourism's website, flights to the falls leave from Eugene F. Correia International Airport daily (if the weather permits) and take about 45 minutes. It’s best to book ahead, since the planes are usually small, with some limited to only 10 passengers at a time. For a longer adventure, you can also opt for three days of overland travel by road or river.

If you're planning an Amazon adventure, choosing the right time to visit can be fairly unpredictable near the falls. Generally, the best time to come to the area is during the summer monsoon season, which occurs from April to September, though tours are available at other times of the year as well.

Kaieteur Falls surrounded by lush rainforest vegetation

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Walking through Kaieteur National Park is a treat in itself. Among the many trails, you’ll see plenty of colorful birds, frogs, and plant life unique to the wildly diverse Amazon rainforest. For more information about the falls and tour operators, visit, the official website of the Guyana Tourism Authority.

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