The Best Known Waterfalls in Uruguay

Want to discover Uruguay's best waterfalls? We’ve rounded them up, showcasing the irresistibly rugged beauty of Uruguayan waterfalls.

Travel and Exploration
1 June 2023

Bordered by the vibrant lands of Brazil and Argentina, and fringed by the ceaseless waves of the mighty Atlantic, lies the entrancing realm of Uruguay. Here, the land ebbs and flows in a symphony of rolling hillocks and audacious rocky terrains, whispering tales of primal power and timeless allure. Yet, in this seemingly tranquil landscape, a beguiling paradox unfolds. For amidst this tender topography, the land gives birth to a host of stunning waterfalls.

These waterfalls of Uruguay are no ordinary cascades. While their numbers may be few, their presence is thunderous, their character undeniably fierce. Each waterfall, in its resonant roar and passionate plunge, echoes the compelling charm and raw, untamed soul of Uruguay. Read on to discover the aquatic marvels that are Uruguay’s best waterfalls, starting with the tallest of them all.

Leap of the Penitent: The Tallest Waterfall in Uruguay

The Penitente waterfall landscape in Lavalleja, Uruguay. (Credit: Ernesto Velazquez via Getty Images)

The Leap of the Penitent is a suitably dramatic name for what’s believed to be the tallest waterfall in Uruguay. And this is indeed the meaning behind the name of the 200-foot Salto del Penitente. Located in the municipality of Lavalleja, its crystalline waters rush and rumble down two steps within a craggy narrow corridor before entering the lagoon below.

The Sorcerer's Waterfall

A waterfall in Quebrada de los Cuervos, Uruguay (Credit: This image is property of Picardo via Getty Images)

Located within the protected landscape of Quebrada de los Cuervos and Sierras del Yerbal, this is possibly the most unique of all Uruguayan waterfalls. Beginning at the crown of a large mossy mound, its waters cascade down in several frothy streams like icing over Christmas pudding. It’s little wonder that this unusual feature is the subject of so many local myths and legends and that its name, Canada de Brujo, translates roughly as “The Sorcerer’s Waterfall”.

Los Olivera Waterfall

Water falling and splashing. (Credit: LITTLE DINOSAUR via Getty Images)

Also in Quebrada de los Cuervos, the Los Olivera Waterfall is a charmingly untamed set of multi stepped cascades. A fine example of the ruggedness of waterfalls in Uruguay, its waters crash and tumble amid smokey grey, jagged rocks and untamed greenery.

Cold Water Jet

Movement of water on the rocks (Credit: Stefano Madrigali via Getty Images)

When the Quebrada Chico stream encounters a looming gorge in Tacuarembó, it forms El Chorro de Agua Fría, the Cold Water Jet. One of the tallest waterfalls in Uruguay, and probably the tallest uninterrupted fall, it plunges down about 100 feet in a roaring torrent. Around it is a riot of biodiversity, with mosses and ferns just some of the greenery growing wildly on every surface.

Waterfalls of Uruguay

Little waterfall at the Crows creek national park, Uruguay. (Credit: quelo73 via Getty Images)

The waterfalls of Uruguay stand as remarkable sentinels of nature, each offering a unique spectacle of splendour. While they may not boast vast numbers, their distinctive forms and the captivating stories they inspire, convey a deep natural beauty. Indeed, they embody a testament to the surprising allure of this underexplored South American gem. From the towering majesty of Salto del Penitente to the mystical charm of the Sorcerer’s Waterfall, these aquatic marvels celebrate Uruguay’s wild, rugged character, leaving an indelible impression on the canvas of this remarkable country.


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