The Laja Falls (Spanish: Salto del Laja) is a waterfall located in the Laja River in south central Chile. It lies next to the old Pan-American Highway, between the cities of Los Ángeles and Chillán. Below the falls Laja River has formed a narrow canyon. The surroundings of the waterfall are very commercialized.
Laja Falls consist of four horseshoe shaped falls – one on each arm of Laja River. The tallest (35 m) is the easternmost fall, but the western falls are 20 m tall. Total width of all four falls – approximately 455 m.
Laja Waterfall is a spectacular cascade formed by the abundant waters of the Laja River. The river flows into a deep rocky canyon that has been drilled into by these raging rapids. It is said that this was a cult place where the old Mapuches would come and meditate, while the younger men should go through passing rites. During the Spanish colonization this was a battle area and a natural limit.
In ancient times, around the waterfall lived the tribes of the Mapuche Indians, they considered these places sacred and used them for the most important ceremonies. One of the most symbolic rituals was the dedication of the Mapuche boys to men, this proud title could only be worn by that young man who himself crossed over to the other side of the waterfall. This event is incredibly dangerous, if you believe the ancient legends, the waterfall was the last obstacle in the life of many young men of the Mapuche tribe. Today, a beautiful waterfall, surrounded by tall green hills, is one of the most important sightseeing sites of the country.