Also known as Iguazú Falls and Iguaçu Falls
Travel Dates 26th and 27th April 2010.
Please click on any picture to see the larger version.
The Iguassu Falls straddle the border between Brazil and Argentina, at the point just before the Iguassu River flows into the Paraná River, which is the border between both countries and Paraguay.
I had previously been to Niagara Falls in 2006, so there is a temptation to compare the two. It really isn’t right to do so. Both are absolutely wonderful spectacular examples of the power of nature; but each is different. Niagara is higher; Iguassu is wider and has more separate falls. Whether one has a greater volume of water passing over the falls than the other depends on the time of year and whether there is a drought or a heavy rainy season. Every cloud has a silver lining. Heavy rains in Peru and Brazil had led to damage to the rail lines to Machu Picchu and to the cog railway to Rio’s statue of Christ the Redeemer when I visited those places. But those same rains resulted in unusually high water levels in the Iguassu River and a massive volume of water over the Iguassu Falls when I was there.
If you are into details such as widths, heights, flows and all that, there are more here on Wiki.
I visited both sides. Both countries have declared the falls and the surrounding district as National Parks and both are World Heritage listed. Local buses service the falls on both sides of the river. On the Brazilian side the 120 bus takes you, via the airport, to the main tourist centre and your Park entry ticket includes another bus to the various stops for walks and hotels. On the Argentine side, after you reach the tourist centre, the transportation in the Park is a tourist train. I took that from the entry to the Falls but I walked back. It is only a short walk to return on foot to the tourist centre, but try not to tread on the locals.
Although getting there has similarities, the experience is quite different on the two sides.
On the Brazilian side a walkway has been constructed with spectacular views of the main falls at the Devil’s Throat and views across the river to the Argentine Falls. The walk is a couple of kilometers long with several stops for photos or just to watch the awe-inspiring display. The thunderous roar of the descending water is continuous as you walk towards the Devil’s Throat, but becomes overwhelming when you reach it.
You are able to get much closer to the falls than you can at Niagara where the only way to get really close is on the Maid of the Mist. On the Brazilian side, when the water level is lower, tourists are allowed to walk out on this platform to experience the full majesty of the rushing water. However, because of the high levels the authorities had closed it and taken the opportunity to do some maintenance.
On the Argentine side there are many smaller falls and also many more walkways between and over them. By smaller, I am comparing with the Devil’s Throat; they are still massive when compared to other waterfalls.
It is a fascinating experience, walking or standing just a meter or two above the lip of a mighty waterfall and watching the water rush under the catwalk and drop directly down below your feet.
Also, on the Argentine side, you become aware that areas that look like typical jungle forests from a distance are actually covered with water up to a meter deep rushing along between the trees in its haste to drop over the edge of the cliffs. I wondered why the trees had not washed away years ago. They must have very tenacious root systems.
On both sides I was impressed by the engineering of the walkways. I assume they must have built them during a drought, because there is no way they could build them when the water levels are as high as they are at the moment.
I’ll follow this post with my first experiment in uploading a few movies of the falls.