Located on the Churun river, which is a tributary of the Carrao, Angel Falls is the highest freshwater, freefalling waterfall in the world.
It has an uninterrupted fall of 2,648 feet with an overall fall of 3,212 feet. First seen by and explorer Ernesto Sanchez La Cruz, the western world was not aware of this natural wonder until it was brought to our attention by a pilot James Crawford Angel, who sighted it while he was flying over looking for an ore bed in 1935.
He returned and landed his plane at the top in 1936, hence the name Angel Falls. Auyantepui is the name given to the mesa on which the falls are located is very often translated as “the devils mouth” though this is not correct.
The reason behind this is that often when Catholic missionaries translated things from Pernon to Spanish, anything that pertained to other religions Gods, or Goddesses, who resided supposedly in these mountains, it was translated as having to do with the devil, or evil.
After landing in the marshy ground atop the falls, Angel and three companions made it back to civilization in 11 days, though the plane remained there for 33 years and was eventually lifted out by helicopter.
It can now be seen at the airport at Ciudad Bolivar, after being restored at the Aviation Museum in Maracay. This have caused some dispute between the airport and the Venezuelan Air Force which would prefer to keep it in the Aviation Museum, under strict climate control, rather than outside and exposed to the elements.
The falls are one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions and the official height was not determined until 1949 in a survey by the National Geographic Society. A trip to the falls, while being worth it in the end, is not for the faint of heart, it requires a flight, and several boat trips, the entire expedition takes around 24 hours from the time that you arrive in Ciudad Bolivar.
Packages can be purchased that include all travel and meals. It is also possible to purchase a package through some agencies that are just a fly-over so that you can view the falls, though on a cloudy day they can’t be seen.
In the dry season, you have a better chance of seeing the falls themselves, but there is usually much less water than you see in the traditional picture offered by travel guides.