This article highlights Pulhapanzak, a massive waterfall located in Honduras and one of the most beautiful places in the country.
I have never been to Niagara, Victoria, or Iguaçu Falls. I have heard regular waterfalls do not amaze you anymore after seeing these huge drops of water (the biggest and widest in the world).
However, I can say I have been affected by one waterfall. I coexisted with her for 2 days and a night. I got used to her thundering sound. I had the courage to stand beneath her even though I almost suffocate.
That waterfall I am referring to is called Pulhapanzak and it is located in the western part of Honduras. Some consider it one of the most amazing sights in the country. I have to agree with those who have delighted their eyes with this beauty.
There are a lot of reasons why Pulhapanzak rocks:
- It has the coolest name. Pulhapanzak is a Mayan word that means “white river overflow”.
- We can say it is the drop-off of a beautiful river. I am not joking about this. The waterfall is formed by the Rio Lindo (beautiful river) dropping from a high cliff.
- It is located only an hour from San Pedro Sula (the road taking you here is in good condition).
- The drop has a height of 43 meters or 140 feet. That is just 30 feet less than Niagara.
- What else can I say, well, do I have to mention the waterfall is huge, beautiful and mesmerizing?
Saw the previous photo? That is what I call amazing!!
Even though the flow in the previous picture looks humongous, it can be way bigger.
First, I visited during the dry season. Second, the flow at the top of the falls is lightly dammed in order to create a pool.
The falls are located inside a tourist center (the entrance fee is $2). You can pay the entrance fee, take a look at the falls and continue seeing the area attractions.
Or, you can spend the day in the center watching the waterfall, bathing in the pools, zip-lining, river tubing, and visiting the water caves. You can pass the night at one of the cabins or at a spot on the campground. There are a lot of options. The people who work at the center are really nice and are eager to help you. Don’t forget to ask about the tours.
I visited as part of a two-day excursion with Jungle Xpedition (unfortunately, the company ceased operations).
After taking a good look at the falls, we got ready to take a look at the caves behind them.
I don’t know how I got the courage to do something like this. One thing is to see a waterfall from a distance. Another is to feel its full force over your body. Here are some of the photos I took with my waterproof camera. They look foggy because of all the mist surrounding us.
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 do 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.
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.
To properly get to the base of the waterfall, the group swam through 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.
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.
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.
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 felt like a sheltered pool.
After this things started to get crazy. From this moment on, things started to happen really quickly. 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 the worst in this crossing. I just remember being pulled.
One girl and I sheltered under a small rock. The other team members were 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 a certain spot. At some instants, the wind pushed away from 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.
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.
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.
What can I say? After this close encounter, I just can say one thing, I love Pulhapanzak.
We also had the opportunity to camp in front of the waterfall. This was an amazing experience too. You hear the thundering noise but it is difficult to see who is making the sound. In the morning, when I was half-awake, I got confused.
I heard the waterfall noise in my dreams but couldn’t realize what was going on. Then, I remembered where I was. I woke up saw the waterfall standing before me. This one of the most unique experiences in my entire life.
If time is on your side, make sure you take to feel the waterfall from many perspectives (from far, from below, from behind). Where else are you going to have the opportunity to be in the presence so huge? I will not stop raving about this place for a long time. It was so incredible. Waterfalls are not going to look the same anymore.
Have you visited Pulhapanzak? Let me know in the comments section below.