Jump into Saut-Mathurine - Haiti’s Biggest Waterfall
Saut Mathurine, Haiti
Photo: Verdy Verna
The south coast is full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, and Saut-Mathurine, Haiti’s largest waterfall, is one of them.
A hidden world
A 40 minute drive out of the western city of Les Cayes, the waterfall is at its most spectacular around May and June, but this is also when the road to get there is at its most - lets say adventurous.
During the rainy season, the Cavaillon river that feeds Saut Mathurine flows powerfully, and you can hear the crashing falls from a distance. In January - Haiti’s driest month- it may not be running at all, but the pool is still a gorgeous place to swim and the jungle scenery is every bit as lush and dramatic as during the rains.
Saut-Mathurine runs through a ravine, and the scene is something out of Jurassic Park: the waterfall thunders into a pristine pool of bright aqua waters, almost green but crystal-clear. Half of the pool is accessible - the other is jagged rock cliffs frothing with jungle trees, vines and moss. At the far end from the waterfall, water cascades over the edge of the pool and becomes rapids that continue on through the ravine. The ridges of the ravine overflow with towering native forest, full of exotic bird song blending in with the sound of the waterfall.
On the accessible side, there’s a cobblestone ledge to make it easier to get right up close to the water’s edge without falling in. But bring swimwear! Saut Mathurine is a fantastic place to swim and is considered better even than Gelée Beach.
The water is ice cold, but on sunny days (practically all!) It's worth it! A few hours is in this paradise is enough to wash away six months of working way too hard on whatever it is that you do.
A climb up a side track leads to the top of the waterfall from where you have a wonderful view and access to some natural pools.
Les Cayes is one of the cities the most travellers don’t reach - Jacmel or Saint-Louis-du-Sud are closer to Port-au-Prince. If you manage to make it as far west as Les Cayes, make it a point to visit Saut Mathurine.
Saut Mathurine waterfall, Haiti
Photo: Ricardo Lartigue
Saut Mathurine is off the beaten path for most travellers - quite literally. The road is unpaved and you’ll need a 4x4 to get there, but it’s worth the bumpy ride. You can hire 4x4 vehicles in Les Cayes. If you’re not used to driving on rough roads, ask if the car company can provide an experienced driver as well. If you enjoy driving off-road though, getting there is an absolute adventure.
Access to the waterfall is via a park entrance - a gap in the wall with a small office to the side. The entrance fee for travellers is 100 Haitian gourdes. Inside the walls, there’s much more to discover than the waterfall itself - you can walk along the riverside and around steps carved into or laid around the otherwise wild jungle. There is a boutique selling local crafts and a restaurant on site.
Saut Mathurine, Haiti
Photo: Verdy Verna
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