Visiting Iguazu Falls
Experience the stunning beauty and raw power of one of the greatest natural wonders on earth—Iguassu Falls. Wider than Victoria Falls and taller than Niagara, Iguassu Falls are set in the tropical jungles near the three-way border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. On this complete falls experience, you’ll spend four days exploring both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides. Iguassu is one of those places that needs to be seen to be believed.
How to Get Wet at the Iguazu Falls
By: Kaitlin Nunn
If you want to get up close and personal with one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls, take a boat trip on Iguazu River to the Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The Iguazu Falls, with water flowing at 61,600 cubic feet per second, puts Niagara Falls to shame. Plus, the surrounding subtropical forests on both Argentina’s and Brazil’s borders are beautiful and worth at least a day of exploring.
The Iguazu Falls is not the longest freefalling waterfall – that would be Angel Falls in Venezuela – nor is it technically the largest – that award goes to the Victoria Falls in Southern Africa – but it is a top contender in both categories. Tons of water per second rushes over basalt rock ledges, some of which are over 250 foot tall. The name Iguazu itself means Big Water in the indigenous language. A cloud of mist rises 100 feet above the splash zone, a spectacular sight since the sunlight often is reflected off the mist in rainbows.
There are several waterfalls, actually, that make up Iguazu. About 270 smaller falls converge at the most impressive cataract of the falls, the Devil’s Throat. So named because the cataract is U-shaped, visitors can get close enough that they are surrounded by a wall of water on three sides.
Visitors can get to the city of Iguazu by bus or by plane. Plan to spend at least a day touring the falls. A visit would not be complete without admiring the falls from the many vantage points in the surrounding national parks. The whole area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the National Iguazu Park has preserved almost 200,000 acres of jungle. In the forests you can see toucans, parrots, and many other beautiful jungle birds, as well as a plethora of butterflies, and maybe even some monkeys and anteaters.
It’s best to take a romp through the forest on the Brazilian side of the falls first. The hike is easy and takes about 45 minutes from the entrance to reach the falls. At the edge of the river, you will have an excellent view of the falls, especially Floriano Falls and the Devil’s Throat. Visitors can also take the free Train of the Forest, or Tren de la Selva. This train also stops part way so that visitors can get off if they wish or continue on to the falls. From the riverbank you can take a boat cruise that takes you into the splash zone, where you can get as close as possible to the falls.
You can spend the afternoon, or another day, trekking around the Argentina side of the falls, which affords more great vistas, especially of the Devil’s Throat, and numerous trails that allow you to get closer to the falls than you can on the Brazilian side.
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