The Iguazu Falls are a spectacular sight and should be a part of any South America itinerary. Easily accessible from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls, travellers should allow at least two nights to experience the park and all its natural wonders. Read on below for our 5 reasons you should visit this awe-inspiring site.
TWO UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES - ONE SPECTACULAR NATIONAL PARK
The Argentina side of the falls offers a full day experience, one where you can spend the day wandering over boardwalks, surrounded by birds, butterflies and the thunderous sound of the falls around you. There are boardwalks that take you from the top of the falls, to the river below and you’ll also have the chance to take a train or if you’re game, a boat that will take you right up to the face of the falls (you will get wet!).
The Brazilian side, on the other hand, offers a completely different view of the falls. After walking past the impressive Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas (first opened in 1958 and the only hotel located inside the National Park), you’ll follow the path surrounded by lush green bush, the occasional capuchin monkey troop and again an array of magnificent birds and butterflies to the face of the falls. The mist made by the falls creates a permanent rainbow, the perfect spot to get your photos.
THERE ISN’T JUST ONE WATERFALL, THERE ARE ABOUT 275!
Although impressive all year round, the National Park really comes alive between November and March, when you have the opportunity to see up to 275 waterfalls, ranging from the small all the way up to the grand Devil’s Throat. Most falls stand around 65 metres high so there is plenty to marvel at as you make your way around the park.
The park makes up the largest waterfall system in the world and has been home to movie sets including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Taking in its overwhelming beauty, it’s easy to see why the National Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the largest of all the falls in the area, you will hear this fall before you see it. If you are visiting between November to March, the amount of water that flows over the top of it can be as much as 450,000 cubic feet per second! Seeing the water rush off the top is mesmerising.
At 82 metres high and at its widest 2.7km, Devil’s Throat is taller than and twice as wide as the Niagara Falls. When translated to English, Iguazu roughly means “Big Water” and after laying eyes on this enormous fall and the ones around it, you’ll find the name very appropriate. Standing on the lookout, the sound is deafening and the bottom impossible to see due to the huge cloud of mist that conceals it.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE FALLS
Sure, it’s the reason you’re going, but once inside the park there is so much more to see (and hear) than just waterfalls. There are around 400 species of birds, over 2000 different species of plant life, more than 80 types of mammals as well as countless invertebrates and insects. One of the more regal with a wingspan of over 3 metres is the Andean Condor. Soaring high above the falls, they glide with such grace that they will stop you in your tracks. There are butterflies everywhere and most will even stay still long enough for a photo. The birds are just as brightly coloured as the butterflies though a little harder to photograph!
One of the more endearing animals in the park is the coatis. Coatis are small racoon like animals that will steal your food should you take your eyes off it. You’ll find them all over the park but more so around the food places being shooed away by shop owners while tourists try and take their photos.
LEARN SO MUCH MORE WITH A GUIDE
It’s easy to walk around the park on your own but by doing so you will miss a lot. Having a guide to answer your questions and to give you interesting facts as you go is a great way to really get the full experience and of course the smaller the group the better - better still, a private tour is always the way to go!
Having a guide assist you around the park makes visiting the park easy. They can also assist with identifying the different names of the waterfalls and wildlife in the park and where to get the best photographs. It’s also nice to have someone show you all the best parts to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Written by Debbie Howard
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