San Rafael Falls

Once the Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Amazon

San Rafael Falls is a famous waterfall in Ecuador. Located in the heart of the Amazon. It is astonishingly beautiful. Or rather, it WAS. The Cascada de San Rafael, as it is called locally, is no more. San Rafael Falls used to be the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Ecuador. A popular location for excursions. But sadly, this is now a thing of the past. Experts expect it to be gone forever.

San Rafael Falls Almost Completely Dried Up

Since February 2020, it has dried up almost completely. The cause is a large sinkhole that has formed in the Coca River, where the water comes from. As a result, the waterfall is now nothing more than an unattractive stream. 

The reason for the hole's formation is not entirely clear. It could be due to the construction of a hydroelectric power plant nearby. Or it could have a natural cause. Tours to the waterfall are no longer offered. It was delisted from Ecuador's most beautiful attractions. Sad, but true.

San Rafael Falls when it was still in full force.

The waterfall, or what remains of it, is located in Yasuni National Park. A nature reserve that is often overlooked by many travellers. For centuries, the water cascaded down about 150 meters into the cloud forest, providing a delightful view of the incredibly green surroundings.

San Rafael Falls almost dried up. ©Ministry of the Environment Ecuador

Yasuni National Park

Even without the waterfall, Yasuni National Park is definitely worth exploring. According to biologists, it is one of the areas on earth with the greatest biodiversity, and it is home to an incredible number of wild animals that are often seen.

Read my article on Yasuni National Park

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