Agoyán waterfall near Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador
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On the Route of the Waterfalls
Coursing down the steep slopes of the Andes, the Pastaza River meets the edge of the Amazon jungle when it's forced through a narrow channel that concentrates the river's power like a firehose. The roiling torrent then shoots over the edge of this mountainside, plunging 200 feet into a cauldron-shaped pool. Agoyán, better known as El Pailón del Diablo (The Devil's Cauldron), is Ecuador's tallest and most famous waterfall. It's a highlight of the Ruta de las Cascadas (Route of the Waterfalls), a popular circuit of the many waterfalls and hot springs near the mountain town of Baños de Agua Santa.
Baños, as it's better known, is in the shadow of Tungurahua, one of South America's most active volcanoes. The once-sleepy town has become a gateway to the Amazon for outdoor adventurers who love to hike, zip line, rock climb, or bike down the mountain to this roaring cascade in the verdant jungle. Pro tip: Bring a rain jacket. The best way to experience the awesome power of The Devil's Cauldron is to walk onto a swaying suspension bridge and then follow the steep steps down the mountainside, around and behind the roaring curtain of water, literally soaking in the view.