Things to bring:
Comfortable walking shoes!
Quick drying clothing. You will get wet,
you will perspire.
to protect from the tropical sun and heat.
Sunscreen; it is easy to get sunburned, here.
Insect Repellent. Insects LOVE the humid
tropical environment. DEET is best.
of film and memory. Wide angle lenses are
morning light is best for photographs.
Vaccinations are not required, but travelers are
always encouraged to be prudent in making those
and Fall are the best times to see the falls.
Winter has bright blue sunny skies, but lower water
levels because it is the dry season. The summer is
tropically hot and humid because it is the rainy
season. The river is high and the falls at
their mightiest, but days can be rather overcast and
sometimes flooding will close some of the viewing
posts and trails. But it seems no matter what time
of year people go, they love the place!
Ranked as the world's second largest,
Iguazu Falls are located in South America, close to the
point where Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina join borders.
The Iguazu River forms a border between Argentina and
Brazil. The majority of the falls actually lie in
Argentina (Cataratas del Iguaz˙ ) and the rest in Brazil (Foz
do Iguašu ).
Depending on the time of year, there
can be several hundred individual falls situated on a two
mile stretch along a crescent shaped cliff. The height
of the highest falls is equal to that of a twenty-four story
building, about 265 feet tall. The thunderous roar can
be heard from miles away.
A major highlight of Iguazu are the
fourteen waterfalls that make up Devil's Throat (Garganta
del Diablo.) The force of the water causes spray to
rise one hundred feet and results in ever-present giant
Iguazu Falls are a UNESCO World
Natural Heritage Site. The word Iguazu come from the
Native American Guarnai word for "great water."
The falls were forms by volcanic activity approximately 100
million years ago.
The Iguazu falls are part of a semi-tropical
jungle ecosystem. Both Argentina and Brazil have
created national parks surrounding the Falls. On the
Argentinean side, there are jungle trails and bird hikes.
There are 500 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, and
an immense variety of reptiles, fish, and insects. The
butterfly population is amazing. Park wild animals
include tigers, jaguars, monkeys, coatis, alligators, and
The first European to see the Iguazu falls
was Cabeza de Vaca in 1542. He was on an expedition
through the region populated by the Caiagangue and
Tupi-Gurani Indians. In search for a river route to
Paraguay, the falls presented themselves as a startling
obstacle. He named them the "Waterfalls of Saint Mary"
but the falls ended up being known for their original Indian
name of Iguazu.
Alberto Dumont, an aviation pioneer,
visited the falls in 1916, and became a champion of the
drive to make the area a national park. On July 28th
of that year, Alves de Camargo, President of the Province of
Parana, expropriated the land surrounding the falls.
The legend of the falls has it that
the Caigangue Indians, who lived on the bank of the Iguazu
River, believed that the world was ruled by a god in the
shape of a serpent named M'Boy. As the story goes, the
tribal chieftain had a beautiful daughter named Naipi who
was said to have been able to still the river just by gazing
upon her own reflection. Naipi was promised to the god
M'Boy, but fell in love with a tribal warrior named Taroba.
The day that the betrothal was to take
place, Taroba stole the beautiful Naipi away, and escaped
down the river. When the god M'Boy found the betrayal,
he furiously drove his twisting serpant body into the
ground, producing a large gorge that created the waterfalls.
The eloping lovers were deluged with water and disappeared
water looks as though it were boiling, raising
clouds for spray which in the light form giant
rainbows that entirely transverse the falls."
"We became caught up in its fantastic splendor -
which we called the Iguazu Syndrome. This syndrome
occurs when you shoot hundreds of pictures and video
of essentially the same thing without realizing
there is no way that film could capture the essence
of the falls. You have to be there to feel the
thundering pounding of the water as it falls
hundreds of feet to a swirling pool of ethereal
mist. You have to hear the roaring of the rushing
water as it crashes against the rocks and trees. You
have to watch the butterflies float effortlessly in
the moist balmy air and hold them in your hands to
really get in touch with the beautiful natural
"Iguazu makes the world-publicized Niagara Falls
look like a dripping tap."