3 Falls (Tres Saltos)

Written by Jesse

Topics: Chile

We took a trip out to a place is call Tres Saltos (3 Waterfalls) this weekend. It’s about 40 minutes from where we live in Villarrica going towards Caburgua, Chile. As you might have guessed, the attraction is a chain of three waterfalls. They are on the same river and form a series so that the first dumps into a large pool then spills over the second, which also forms a pool then dumps over the third which again forms a large pool before heading down river with only minor rapids. Swimming is allowed in all the pools.

Lower Fall 3 Saltos

Normal entrance fee is about $2 USD per person but we arrived at about 4:30pm and were given a discount so that only my girlfriend and I paid. The seven year old twins and of course the baby got in for free. We still had about four hours of sunlight, plenty to do everything and have a great time. There is a manicured area along the river at the lower falls. It has picnic tables and areas to lay out in the shade or sun. We brought an indoor/outdoor blanket, cooler of food, and of course bathing suits. After quickly grabbing a bite, the twins and I headed into the water. The river is fed by natural springs and can be cold. On this day, the water was nice – once you dove all the way in. After a lap around the pool and a failed attempt to swim up to the fall (the current at the base of falls is quite strong), I convinced the seven year old girl to ride on my back over to the rock wall on the far side of the pool. There she was able to climb up a short way on to a rock ledge over the water. Of course, we had to visit the other falls and swim the pools. I was unable to get anywhere close to the base of the third fall because of water rushing through a three foot wide gap in the rock separating the upper pool from the lower before spilling over the second fall. You basically have to be a salmon to make this swim.

However, with some observation and effort, I was able to swim close enough to the second fall to get my hand in a crevice and hall myself ( in a very ungraceful manner ) onto this rock and squat next to the rushing fall. I can tell you the energy of even this small fall is exhilarating. When I first place my hand in the fall, the force of the water nearly pulled my in and I had to brace myself with my other hand to keep from being dragged in. This made the whole day for me.

Although not functional because of maintenance and replacing the cable, you can do canopy (zip line) from over the third fall ( really the first but they are numbered from lower to upper ), across the valley of several hundred meters to the next hill over.

As the sunlight faded and night set, most other visitors left. We stayed and ate dinner at one of the tables. After dinner, my girlfriend and her daughter (the seven year old) took a refreshing swim in the lower pool, in the dark.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Always wanted to swim in a waterfall! Lovely!

    • Jesse says:

      Hey Alexandra, glad your having fun with your travels. I went back to the falls one more time recently and was able to swim under the surface current and right up under the fall this time. It was crazy to feel the force of the water crashing down on me.

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