Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazú River tumbles down the Paraná Plateau, forming some 275 waterfalls in the process. The name, Iguazú, literally means “big water” and this place certainly lives up to the name.
Even the most well-travelled and worldly-wise of globetrotters can’t fail to be awed by a natural wonder of this magnitude and the efforts to preserve the falls in their pristine splendour go back over 100 years. In the 1980s Argentina and Brazil created national parks on their respective sides of the border and in 2011 Iguazú Falls was declared one of the new seven wonders of nature.
Both nations have created excellent walking trails inviting visitors to get closer to the cascading waters – within “spraying distance” in fact. As the majority of the falls are located on the Argentine side, the views are particularly good from Brazil. However, it’s definitely worthwhile spending a day in each country, as they offer different experiences and different vistas. In Brazila double-decker bus gets you closer to the falls and walking paths, in Argentina they are reached by a small train. There are plenty of walkways and viewing platforms all around, that don’t distract from the beauty of the falls themselves. The 82-metre high Devil’s Throat, one of the most famous, can be seen from both sides of the border.
The falls, although truly spectacular, are not the only attraction – the landscape, flora and fauna provide excellent props to this world class wonder. Lush, abundant greenery, interspersed with brightly coloured flowers, cover all sides of the falls and the wildlife is
remarkably visible, even a bit “forward”. Beware of the cheeky coatis – they’re far too used to getting fed by visitors. Don’t be surprised if you spot a toucan or colibri and what’s easily mistaken for large colourful handkerchiefs fluttering past, are instead different species of butterfly. This is a magical place.
You can visit the Iguazú Falls on our South America tours.
By Anna Maria Espsäter