AS Nathan Turner approached the waterfall, buried deep in the Amazon rainforest, gentle rain began to fall.
But it didn't matter to the 16-year-old exchange student from Bacchus Marsh.
It was still incredibly humid, and swimming in the blue water pools was a welcome respite from the heat.
The visit to the caves and waterfalls marked the start of Nathan's 10-day trek through the famous jungle, the highlight of his year-long exchange in Brazil sponsored by Rotary.
Nathan, who is living with a host family in the southern coastal city of Florianopolis, will return to Bacchus Marsh early next year.
He also got the chance to dance the samba with village tribes and drift on a boat down the Amazon River's tributaries, sleeping most nights on the deck in a hammock.
Trekking deeper into the forest, Nathan took part in a survival challenge, with only 600millilitres of water and no food for four hours.
He also got the chance to swim with dolphins and watched the sun rise over the horizon. "We went fishing for piranhas and looking for alligators, and I held a small alligator. It was amazing," he said.
Nathan said other exchange students he had met on the trip were now lifelong friends.
"I've learnt there is a whole other lifestyle and culture outside of Australia.
"I feel like I am becoming a much more confident person and a bit more adventurous.
Nathan said his values had changed since living away from home and he no longer took living in Australia for granted. "There are so many homeless people and much unemployment in Brazil.
"But even though people do think it's just a place of drugs, favelas, jungles and crime, there is also such a beautiful side with wonderful people."
He says he's already planning to return to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and he wants to study teaching at university after completing his VCE. -Claire Knox