Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world at 3,212 feet, is located in the Guyana highlands of Bolívar state, Venezuela. It drops from a high, mesa-type mountain, Auyan Tepuy (Devil's Mountain), into the Carrao River below. Angel Falls is in the Canaima National Park, the largest national park in the world, totaling 3 million hectares (larger than Belgium).
The indigenous people of the area, the Pemon, call the waterfall Parekupa-meru. It is likely that the Venezuelan explorer Ernesto Sánchez La Cruz was the first nonindigenous person to see the falls in 1910, but he did not publicize his find. In 1935 James Crawford "Jimmie" Angel (1899–1956), a U.S.-born gold prospector and former Canadian Air Force pilot, flew by the falls, and on 9 October 1937, he returned with his wife and one or two others. He landed the plane on top of the mountain, where it became stuck; Angel and his companions took eleven days to hike down the mountain and back to the nearest mission. The falls were named after Angel, who became a hero for discovering this natural wonder. His airplane was recovered in 1970 and put on display in the city of Maracay, in north central Venezuela.
Commercial flight has made Angel Falls one of the top tourist attractions of Venezuela. Tourists fly to Ciudad Bolívar and beyond, and then either take helicopter tours or hike to the falls. In 1994 the Canaima National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
See alsoTourism .
Stalcup, Ann. "Exploring the Angel Falls Region of Venezuela." Faces: People, Places, and Cultures 20, no. 5 (January 2004): 30-35.
Erick D. Langer