The Iguazu Falls, popularly known in Argentina how “the waterfall”, they are a set of cataracts localized over the Iguazu river, between the limit of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Parana. It´s found protected in this hole, in the Argentinian side of the Iguazu national park, while in the Brazilian side it´s found in the Iguaçu national park. They were chose one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The Iguazu falls are unanimously recognized as the most spectacular. The swiss botanist Robert Chodat eloquently described his imposing greatness:
“When we´re at the foot of this world of cataracts and raising our we see, 82 meters above us, the horizon occupied by a water line, the amazing spectacle of an ocean falling in a gulf in an abyss in almost chilling.”
Amazed at the beauty of such a show, the swiss botanist described the flora and fauna characteristic of the area:
“An exuberant and almost tropical vegetation, the leafiness of the big ferns, the bamboo canes, the graceful trunks of the plan trees and thousands of tree species, with their glasses leaning over the abyss adorned with moss, red begonias, golden orchids, bright bromeliads and vines with flower trumpets…”
The fauna that exists in the Iguazu falls is composed of 450 bird species, 80 mammal species, great variety of insects and within the fluvial flora we can find yacares, turtles, herons, and fish. Within the bird species stand out the cascade swifts that are the representative specie of the Iguazu falls; also, is the big toucan, which is one of the five types of toucans that are in the area. The waterfalls represent a refuge for some animals that are in danger of extinction as the yaguar, tapir, ocelot, tiricas, anteater, the yacutinga, jungle eagles and the yacare avero, etc.
Waterfalls of the falls:
In 1984 the Argentinian sector of the cataracts, the Iguazu national park, it was declared a word heritage site by the UNESCO. Later, in 1986, the Brazilian sector that is in the Iguaçu national park, was also declared a world heritage site. Inside the Argentinian park you will find the hotel Sheraton Iguazu (before the International Hotel Iguazu), which has a panoramic view of the throat of the devil and the Brazilian jumps. Near the falls you will find the Argentinian city of Puerto Iguazu at the confluence of the Iguazu and Parana rivers. There is the triple border with Paraguay.
- Underpass: starting from the viewpoint that is remembered by its figure to a lighthouse and it stands out from the environment because of its white color, it descends many stairs (some carved in the rock same) towards the Iguazu river and you go through a beautiful pedestrian path. Surrounded by the lush jungle you can enjoy a beautiful view of the lower part of the falls.
Beginning the visit in the jump Lanusse and going through the jump Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, you will arrive to a splendid panoramic point from where you will have a first view of the devil´s throat. Advancing a little more watching the San Martin island and on your right the homonymous jump. At the end of the trail you will find the jump Bessette. There the water vapor produced by the collision of the water against the rocks forms a tenuous but incessant rain. Leaving the path towards Punta Peligro you can, if at that moment it is enabled, navigate the Iguazu river and cross to the island San Martin. On the way back, we pass the Dos Hermanas waterfall, where before we could enjoy a refreshing swim in the huge natural pool that forms at its base, but now is prohibited.
- Top ride: starting from the same place mentioned above, it is covered as the name of the walk indicates the upper part of the waterfalls. The observation point from a higher level changes the landscape vision completely, you can see perfectly at their feet the turbulent waters. In this way, the dos Hermana jump, the Bessette, the Chico, which are a small preview of the important Devil´s Throat, are visited again. In this place where the water falls of approximately 70 maters of height, the deafening roaring of the water surprises, permanently covered by dense columns of steam, that dismisses the shock of water with the rocks.
- Devil´s Throat:
The Devil´s Throat is accessed through the cataract train, descending in the Devil´s Throat station. There is a walk through the new catwalk, that travels 1100 meters to the large balconies located right on the edge and front of the Devil´s Throat. Then duration of this trip is 2 hours and the last train leaves at half past four pm.
Distribution of cataracts between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil
The Iguazu falls have been arranged in a way that looks great inverted “J”. The north margin is the Brazilian territory which possesses little more than 20% of the falls of said cataracts; and on the south side are the Argentine jump which make up almost 80% of the falls. To fully know and appreciate the waterfalls, the recommendation is to visit both the Argentine side and the Brazilian side, because on one side you can see the other and vice versa. Came out of this distribution a saying that says “from Brazil you see the falls, and from Argentina you live”: from Brazil you have an important overview of most of the jumps, which can be vividly traveled from the Argentininian side. In effect, on the Argentinian side the visitor moves between the jumps, not only on the catwalks that allow almost touching the water, and even approach the Devil´s Throat, if you depart by boat from Argentinian territory.