The Iguazu Falls should be on your bucket list if it isn’t already. You may have seen photos or even visited similar waterfalls elsewhere but this wonder of nature truly must be seen to be believed. More than a million visitors from all over the globe visit every year and even the most sceptical and hard-to-impress travellers leave the waterfalls enchanted and amazed.
On the border between Brazil and Argentina, the Iguazu Falls stretch as far as the eye can see, with powerful falls gushing loudly into the immense pools below. The factor that sets the falls apart from other waterfalls of the world is its sheer size. The system of the Iguazu Falls comprises 275 individual waterfalls and spans an area almost 3 kilometres wide. The crowning glory is, of course, the Devil’s Throat, an 80-metre tall waterfall that is constantly shrouded in a milky mist due to the force with which the water crashes into the abyss below. Many visitors look forward to heading up to the top of this waterfall, which can be reached by a frequent train.
Iguazu means “big water” in the Native Indian language of the region, and this is certainly one way of describing this feat of nature. It is almost twice as tall as Niagara Falls, and although smaller than Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, the number of waterfalls and the sheer volume of moving water at Iguazu is incomparable. There is enough water flowing at any one moment to fill five Olympic swimming pools, and even more during the wetter months between November and March. The river that receives the water from the falls also shares the name Iguazu.
The wonder of the Iguazu Falls has not gone unnoticed as it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and more recently it won the title as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The location of Iguazu is equally as special. It can be found in the Atlantic rainforest, which is one of the only inland rainforests in South America and is home to many amazing species of plants, birds and mammals, which add to the appeal of the area, allowing for wildlife discovery tours alongside visiting the falls. Both monkeys and jaguars have been spotted around the lush rainforests that border the falls.
Some visitors find watching the falls from afar an overwhelming experience, but there is also the opportunity to get up close to the falls where you can literally feel the power of the gushing water and immerse yourself in the thundering sound. On the Argentinian side, there are pier-like walkways, which wind around the falls and enable visitors to reach out and touch the waterfalls! You can even take a boat ride that passes directly under the gushing water if you are prepared to get soaked during the experience! On the other hand, the Brazilian side offers more picturesque views, as although you cannot get as close on this side, you are greeted with impressive panoramic views to appreciate the bigger overall picture of the Iguazu Falls.
The location of the Iguazu Falls is also extremely convenient for further South American exploration. It is a short flight from Rio de Janeiro and an even shorter flight from Argentina’s Buenos Aires, so it’s the perfect highlight to a trip to either of these vibrant countries. Clearly, the Iguazu Falls are a bucket list favourite and an amazing feat of nature that shouldn’t be missed!