The Powerful Waterfalls of Saltos del Monday, Ciudad del Este

The "Saltos Monday" sign on the backdrop of the mighty falls

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Perhaps the single most underrated waterfalls anywhere in the world, Saltos del Monday in Paraguay's easternmost city, Ciudad del Este, provides a breathtaking experience, entirely free of the hustle and bustle places of its kind usually entail.

It is often case where awe-inspiring natural gems are inundated with large throngs of tourists, resulting in a nuisance for anyone who seek a sense of serenity. That is, unless you are talking about Saltos del Monday, a series of waterfalls slightly south of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s second largest city. Due to their relative proximity to the world-renowned Iguazú Falls astride the Brazil-Argentina border, Saltos del Monday remains out of most tourists’ route. As a result, those spectacular waterfalls which otherwise would be a crowded, touristy site, are usually frequented only by a handful of visitors at any given moment.


Located about 5 kilometers southwest of Ciudad del Este downtown area, the waterfalls are part of Monday municipal park, a 9-hectare recreational area along the forested banks of Monday River. The park is home to a hiking trail, camping site, restaurant, snack bar and most importantly, the waterfalls of Saltos del Monday. To enter the park, one must first pay a fee of 87,000 Guaranis (equivalent to 12 USD). As you walk along the short, wooded path that links the visitor center with the waterfall lookout, you’ll be greeted by the falls’ rumbling sounds.


Featuring an orange-brownish hue thanks to the river’s high level of muddy sediments, the Monday Waterfalls are 120 meter wide, consisting of three separate waterfalls, each of which is roughly 45 meter tall. The falls’ sheer amount of water results in a constant roar that eclipses any other sound around, including the chitchats of the few visitors who do come here.


The park’s main scenic point perches on a rocky cliff along the river, offering mesmerizing vistas of the mighty cascades. Visitors who wish to have a closer glimpse of Saltos del Monday’s gushing waters can use the elevators or the staircase near the snack bar, leading to the lower lookout which is only meters away from the waterfalls. As the downhill lookout is incessantly sprinkled with a chilly mist, the close encounter with this watery beast feels as if one is steeped in a perpetual rainstorm.


Interestingly, the formidable falls also served as a major spot for gatherings and rites by the native Guarani tribe during pre-colonial times, and so, despite their anonymity among foreigners, this place is still immensely revered by ordinary Paraguayans.