Forget Niagra, or even Victoria Falls – if you want to see a truly spectacular, noisy, powerful waterfall; then you need to get to Iguazu Falls. Whatever you call them, these falls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, nominated as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and just beautiful, spectacular, romantic and all the other superlatives you can think of.
What is so special about Iguazu Falls?
The River Iguassu starts in the Parana region of Brazil and makes its way west until it arrives at a huge volcanic plateau. At this point the largest average flow of water in the world falls an incredible 269 feet into the lower Iguassu River. The Falls make a U shape with 2 miles of falls interspersed with islands making 275 different cascades of different sizes and intensities. Where Iguazu beats other waterfalls is just how easy it is to see the falls up close from different viewing points along the upper and lower walkways; as well as the intensity of the waterfall. See the falls from above, from below, from a boat below the falls and from a distance for a fantastic panorama.
The Devil’s Throat
The most spectacular section of Iguazu Falls is the Devil’s Throat, where fourteen falls drop 350 feet with such force that there is always a 100 feet cloud of spray overhead. You can see the full Devil’s Throat from the Brazilian side or, for a close up view, take the trail in the Brazil National Park to the base of Salto Floriano and take the elevator to the top of the falls. From the Argentine side you can take follow a series of walkways above the falls, or get a soaking on a boat ride into the falls. Take a trip out to Iguazu at full moon for a truly romantic view.
Where is Iguazu?
Iguazu Falls is located at the meeting point of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The Rver Iguassu (or Iguazu) forms part of the border of Argentina and Brazil. Below the falls, the River Iguazu empties into the Paraná River at the point where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay join; an area known as the Triple Frontier. Two-thirds of the falls are within Argentine territory.
What’s In a Name?
The name “Iguazu” comes from the Guarani or Tupi words y, meaning “water”, and ûasú, meaning “big”. The falls are called Cataratas de Iguazu in Argetina and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil. They are also known as Iguassu Falls.
What about the setting?
The falls are located within a practically virgin jungle ecosystem. It is protected by Argentine and Brazilian national parks on either side of the cascades. You can tour the Argentine side of the falls in the Iguazú National Park where there are jungle trails and bird hikes. The huge park is home to 450 species of birds including macaws, toucans and Harpy Eagle. Mammals include ocelot, peccary, tapir, anteater, monkey. There is a also a huge range of bright butterflies to be seen
How to get there
In Argentia, the nearest town is Puerto Iguazu serced by the Cataratas del Iguazu international Airport (IGR). There are flights to here from Buenos Aires and Salta, Argentina. In Brazil the nearest town, Foz do Iguaçu, is served by the airport of the same name (IGU). The Brazilian airport has flight to Sao Paolo and Rio plus one daily flight direct to Lima. Note that US nationals require a visa to enter Brazil; even just for a short trip to visit Iguaçu.
Take advantage of LAN airline’s cheap flights between Lima and Iguaçu to visit Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu in one unforgettable trip.