Every year, millions of people come to visit this beautiful natural attraction, but nothing can prepare you for the magnificent, dramatic landscape of this natural wonder that is Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world.
The Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption,
Created more than 200 million years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption, OIguazú Falls are actually a chain of 275 waterfalls on the Iguazu River, on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná, Varying in size, power and character, they create what is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders you’ll ever have the privilege to see.
Interestingly, Iguazu National Park consists of two national parks, one in Foz de Iguazu (Brazil) and the other one in Puerto Iguazu (Argentina), with about 80 percent of the falls on the Argentina side. Both parks are home to many species of flora and fauna that are part of an important natural ecosystem connected to all of Latin America, and both located close to one another, about 16 kilometres between them. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 and 1984 respectively.
The cascades dance between the delicate and the thunderous, while the surrounding landscape is exotic and untamed, filled with thousands of birds and butterflies, and peaceful nature trails. As you walk tat giddy heights above the river, you’ll feel the spray of the waterfall skim your face, and your heart skips a beat. There is nothing like the noise and force of these falls.
So wondrous are Iguazu Falls, former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is rumored to have said, “My poor Niagara …” after seeing this stunning site.
Iguazu Falls from Argentina
The dramatic centrepiece of Iguazu Falls is Devil’s Throat (Garganta do Diabo), the tallest and mightiest of Iguazu’s 275 waterfalls. Made up of 14 cascades that thunder from heights of more than 80 metres, this is truly something to behold.
Why is it called Devils Throat? Well, this is the stuff of urban myth and legend!
The two national parks are full of flora and fauna
One of the legends is that a Deity (God) planned to marry a beautiful woman called Naipi, who wanted to marry another man. She fled with her lover in a canoe and the Deity, in a rage, sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and plunging the lovers into an eternal fall.
When one leans right over the safety railings next to the Devil’s Throat you experience an intensity of danger, thrill and a sigh of utter relief you cannot plunge into the falls.
The rainbows that engulf the landscape are phenomenal and the setting is overwhelming.
Iguazu Falls from Brazil
How to reach Iguazu Falls is a great question and know this—it takes some planning. But most things of beauty take a little work. There are two main gateway towns, one on either each of the falls: Puerto Iguazu in Argentina and Foz do Iguacu in Brazil. But be prepared: Buenos Aires is 1,300 kilometres from Iguazu Falls, and the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro is roughly 1,500 kilometres from away. Various buses also travel between Iguazu Falls and the nearby towns, and a Rainforest Ecological Train on the Argentinian side. Once in the parks, thew walkways and boardwalks get you close enough to get soaked. On the Argentinian side, you can also take the eco train through the jungle
On the Brazilian side, there’s access to an incredible lookout with an expansive view of the entire falls.
This imposing and impressive place is a reminder of the force and beauty of Mother Nature. No wonder it’s considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The beauty is unparalleled.
It is heartening to read about the Triangle City cooperation plan by Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to develop long and short term plans to protect Iguazu Falls from the impending detrimental damages sure to be caused by climate changes. I can confidently class Iguazu Falls as paradise on earth, and I hope we can all pledge to protect this as well as the planets myriad other natural wonders for future generations.
BeSeeingYou In: Iguazu Falls
Good to know: You might need a visa to cross the border between countries, so check ahead.
WOW! Factor: This waterfall system stretches for 2.7 kilometres. Iguazu Falls is taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide.
Tip: This helicopter ride will give you amazing perspective over the vastness of the falls and some of its most spectacular features, including Devil’s Throat.
Author bio: Ranjit Shergill