Waterfall rappelling – otherwise known as canyoning – is one of the most thrilling extreme sports out there. Rappelling certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, as abseiling whilst water tumbles overhead is seriously challenging. However, what could be more exciting than belaying down a waterfall? As long as you have some climbing experience, waterfall rappelling is an exhilarating and rewarding experience. In this article, we run through some of the world’s most spectacular locations to waterfall rappel and share some beginner’s tips.
Top tips for waterfall rappelling
If you’re going to go waterfall rappelling, it’s safe to assume you have some experience climbing. With this in mind, here are some essential tips for taking on a waterfall rappel course:
- If you want to attempt a waterfall rappel, grippy shoes are absolutely essential. It’s risky enough as it is, so making sure you have suitable footwear should be your number one priority.
- Once you’re on the cliff face, you should keep your stance wide to stay balanced. During the descent, keep your feet the same height as your hips and lean back as much as possible.
- In order to control your speed, keep your braking hand close to your hips.
The world’s most impressive waterfall rappelling destinations
1. Victoria Waterfall, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the world’s waterfall rappelling capital. It is one of the country’s most popular extreme sports and there are plenty of destinations to choose from. However, one of the best is the Victoria Waterfall, which is in Guanacaste and the North Pacific. As a whole experience, the Victoria Waterfall is incredible – participants go on a 45 minute horseback ride before reaching the waterfall, where they climb down the rugged cliff face.
2. Almanchares Canyon, Spain
When most people think of vacations on Spain’s south coast, they don’t usually think of adventure sports. However, the Province of Malaga, Spain, isn’t just luxury hotels – it also plays host to some astonishing scenery. Approximately two hours north of Malaga, there are several beautiful canyons which offer thrilling rappelling in the Sierra Tejeda National Park. Overall, the area has more than fourteen courses of varying difficulty.
3. Maui Waterfall, Hawaii, USA
The Maui Waterfall rappel tour in Hawaii, USA, is suitable for more advanced climbers as it involves quite a lot of canyoneering. However, as it’s an organized tour, rappellers are supported by professional guides. The tour begins at a central meeting point where climbers are transported to a secluded site along the Road to Hana. Here, they take on three different drops, including a 60-foot slope as a practice run, a 50-foot waterfall, and a 30-feet waterfall. The cost is $219 per person as a participant or $150 as an observer.
4. Santa Rosa Waterfall, Guatemala.
The Santa Rosa Waterfall, Guatemala, is one of Central America’s most beautiful landmarks. Unlike other tall, thin waterfalls in the region, Santa Rosa is quite wide. Surrounded by a forested plain, the falls also feature a small natural pool at the bottom where climbers can cool off. There are several different agencies that operate tours to Santa Rosa – however, when picking your tour, ensure it does include rappelling as opposed to just sightseeing or swimming.
5. Vallée Bras-du-Nord, Quebec, Canada
Canyoning Québec is a tour operator who runs regular rappelling tours to the stunning Vallée Bras-du-Nord in Quebec, Canada. Located about 37 miles north of Québec City, the tour includes a 45-minute hike through a lush forest toward the waterfall. Once at the falls, Canyoning Québec’s professional guide will help you suit up to traverse the 49-feet drop. Tours cost $89 per person including equipment, which is very reasonable – however, the course is quite challenging, so we recommend this for people with some experience.