|Gocta Cataracts [Jorge Gobbi/Flickr]
Well-known to locals for centuries, this towering waterfall remained a secret from the rest of the world until as recently as 2005, when German explorer Stefan Ziemendorff became the first outsider to witness it. Located in a remote Amazonian province in Peru, the Gocta Cataracts is one of the world's tallest waterfalls. Though accurate measurements of its height have yet to be taken, an initial estimate placed it as the third highest in the world.
Locals kept the location secret because they feared that revealing its whereabouts would release the curse of a beautiful blond mermaid who is rumored to live in the waters.