Waterfalls are pretty damn cool and Iguazu falls is one of the best. Sometimes you can shower under a waterfall imagining for a minute that you’re an attractive model in a shampoo advert, or if you are of a more adventurous spirit, jump off the top of one to get that endorphin high. However, unless you are the hero of a Hollywood blockbuster I’d advise against doing any of the above at Iguazu falls.
The river that bears the name Iguazu, starts in the mountains of Serra do Mar in the South of Brazil. It winds its way slowly in large arcs like a snake through flat-forested plains and past the large cattle ranches, getting steadily wider as if preparing itself for this natural wonder. The slow moving waters are a deep dark brown, heavy with alluvial sediment. As it reaches the border with Argentina and Uruguay the river broadens to 1.5 km, which is about when 1,746 cubic metres of water a second discovers gravity and turns into Iguazu falls.
If you want to visit Iguazu fall, you have two choices; you can see the waterfalls from either the Argentinian or the Brazilian side. Like a seasoned traveller, I had left my passport in my room when I was hastily packing my bag on the morning I left Buenos Aires, so we came from the Argentinian side.
One of the most amazing and little known things about the Argentinean side of falls is that they have actually taught the animals living in the national park to be tour guides. The Brazilians have been trying for years, but have never been able to pull off. We were taken to the falls by three clever marsupials that could obviously read the signs.
If you’re coming to Iguazu from the Argentinean side you actually hear the waterfall long before you see anything. It starts as a dull roar, which as a gap in the forest emerges opens up into the first of many viewing platforms. The view is pretty jaw dropping.
As you can see from the photo, Iguazu falls is actually not one waterfall, but hundreds of small ones that span more than two and a half kilometres. Interspersed between the falls are islands of vegetation that cling to life in between the raging waters.
The largest of all the waterfalls is ‘Garganta del Diablo,’ or ‘the Devil’s Throat.’ It’s a large U shaped canyon with water pouring in from every side. The roar of the waters is deafening. The force of the water is so great that it pushes up a mist of spray 30 metres high. From the top all you can see are the small birds flitting through the spray as they hunt for food in the midst of Iguazu falls.