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Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 | 4 comments

Taking the Plunge: Getting Under a Massive Waterfall

When I travel I like to add a taste of adventure to keep things varied.  But sometimes, I go too far.

When planning my trip to Honduras, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to wander around on my own.  Therefore, I signed up for a two day excursion with Jungle Xpedition.  To me, it was the best way to get a glimpse of the places I wanted to visit on the country. The excursion included a visit to the Pulhapanzak waterfall and its water caves.  At the moment of booking, I didn’t pay attention to the “water caves” part.

Nevertheless, things started to change quickly when I was in the actual country.

Believe me, when you are in front of a huge waterfall (more of a cataract), you don’t feel too eager to jump underneath it. Yes, the caves are behind the water wall.  You need to battle the pounding force before getting into the small apertures in the rock.

What if the power of the water washes you down the stream (reasonable question, right?)? The guide said the probability of being knocked down by the water was minuscule.  There is a “rock wall” in front of the cliff which creates the falls. The “wall” will hold your body (dead or alive) in the case of any “slippery”.

To make things worse, a few days before the excursion, I fell in the city of Santa Rosa de Copan.  I ended up with a pretty bad cut on my left knee.  Dark bruises around and below the knee framed the main cut.  I was in pain and it was difficult to walk.  Hiking, rowing and caving does not sound that exciting anymore when you are not at your 100%.  I thought about canceling the excursion but I just went with the flow.  I don’t know when I got so positive.

Getting close to the falls


After taking a good look at Pulhapanzak, we change into the proper clothing and hiked until we got in front of it. A thick cloud of mist surrounded us as we got closer to the falls.

The group ready to tackle the monster


To properly get to the base of the waterfall, the group swam thru a small pool surrounded by rocks.  I don’t know how to swim.  One of the guides told me people unable to swim tend to freak out when under the falls.  I decided to stay there.

Getting to the base of the falls


After a couple of minutes, my husband came back and told me the pool crossing wasn’t that difficult.  The other guide also came back and helped me to cross the pool by the side (holding thru the rocks).  It was official.  I was taking the plunge.

One of the guides helping me to cross the pool


The group stood for a couple of minutes watching the waterfall from the side (covered under an aperture on the rock).  Everything was so fuzzy because of the mist.  I used goggles to make things easier (and to keep my contact lenses in my eyes). My husband and I took our waterproof camera.  Soon, it became the group camera.  We were able to document everything.

That’s us


Then, the really difficult part started.  We got to the first cave on the waterfall face.  The water was hitting us hard but it was kind of easy to get there.  The cave was full of water so it our sheltered pool.

Inside one of the water caves


After this things started to get crazy.  From this moment on, things started to happen really quick.   The guide told us to prepare to receive the full force of the water.  We had to walk 200 meters in some kind of human chain.  We had to look down and breathe by the mouth.  One of the girls was screaming: “This is insane!”

Wow, I can’t describe the feeling of getting pounded with such force by gallons and gallons of water. It was hard.  Extremely hard.  I felt underwater.  Breathing was so difficult.  While some water was still hitting us, the guide told us to prepare for another hard crossing.  This time it was only 100 meters.  For me, the water was hitting worst in this crossing.  I just remember being pulled.

One girl and I sheltered under a small rock.  The other team members where screaming with excitement and just feeling the water over their bodies. One of the guides was showing them how to get underneath the waterfall without being hit by the water.  You stand on certain spot.  At some instants, the wind pushed away the water.  During those few seconds, you were surrounded by the wind current and the mist and were able to see the top of the waterfall.

Taking a look at the top of the falls


It was time to enter another cave.  We entered this one thru a small hole. It is incredible to be in a dry cave while you can hear the roaring water sound everywhere.

Leaving the second cave


I can’t remember if we got onto another cave.  The abundance of water was affecting my senses.  I remember being worried about getting back.  I don’t know how we did it but we got off the area pretty quick.  We went back by another route (if it can be called like that).  But hey, don’t trust me.  I just remember being pulled and carried at that moment.

Success!!! We did it! We got under a massive waterfall and survived to tell the story.  All the members of the group kept smiling and smiling.  We felt incredible.  We stayed about 20 minutes swimming in one of the natural pools and taking our pictures with the conquered monster behind us.

We did it!!!


Enjoying the water


We love Pulhapanzak

What can I say?  After this close encounter, I just can say one thing, I love Pulhapanzak.

For more details on how to have a similar adventure read this post.

Have you experienced a waterfall like this? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. You have described it so well. It was less than 2 weeks ago I conquered the Pulhapanzak myself. Halfway through (well, it was sooner than that) I think I was trying to tell myself, “What in the world are you, a 50 year old woman, doing up here??!!” it was definitely a bucket list experience and even better that I got to do it with my daughter and my best friend. Juan was an amazing tour guide.

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