One of the most impressive sites in this part of the world is Iguazu Falls which straddles the border between Brazil and Argentina and is the largest waterfall system in the world. The falls are part of the Iguazu River which forms the border between Brazil and Argentina and a national park for respective country. Both national parks have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
For perspective, Niagara Falls is a third of the height of Iguazu Falls. Iguazu Falls is comprised of 275 separate waterfalls with islands dispersed in between. Iguazu Falls is wider than Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe but Victoria Falls holds the record as the widest waterfall in the world due to its continuous curtain of the waterfall (no islands). Regardless of world records, Iguazu Falls is awesome to experience and you really need to see it from both sides as the experience is different. Both parks have done a nice job with getting you up close and personal with the falls from different vantage points.
From the Brazil side…
Most of the falls are on the Argentina side but the views and access from the Brazil side are spectacular. On this side of the falls, you only need about 2 hours to walk along the perimeter for viewing and the best part is walking out on the raised platform above the falls right into the heart… be prepared to get wet.
Here are some pictures from the platform over the waterfalls. You definitely need to bring a poncho or rain coat. It’s a good idea to bring a waterproof holder for your phone too as there is no escaping the water spray from the falls. Hang on tight to your cameras as there are many people and a simple bump can make you drop your camera into the falls.
Here’s a clip of the falls in motion from the Brazil side…
From the Argentina side…
On the Argentina side, plan to spend almost a full day here as there are many more vantage points to explore. From Argentina, you take a small train to the beginning of the falls where you have to walk less than a kilometer on a raised platform above the river to get to the Devil’s Throat. The amount of water flowing into the Devil’s Throat is amazing and you’ll get great photos from this vantage point. Below are pictures of Devil’s Throat and the walk out to it.
Here’s a clip of The Devil’s Throat in action…
After hopping back on the train, you’ll get off at the next stop where you can walk along the upper falls for some great views.
After a quick lunch, we headed down to the lower waterfall walkway… just a new vantage point to take it all in.
Three Countries Intersect
An interesting tidbit in the Iguazu Falls area is the three countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay come together at the confluence of the Iguazu and Parana Rivers. The picture below is taken from my hotel on the Argentina side, Amerian…. Directly across the river is Brazil where the ferris wheel is and to the left of the river is the country of Paraguay. I was told by our guide that Americans need a VISA to enter Paraguary so we weren’t able to cross over to Paraguay… next time.
There’s a nice little square down from the Amerian hotel which has a fountain show and local artisans selling their crafts. There are a lot of gourmet type restaurants in the town of Iguazu.
Giving Back to the Local School
With Gate 1 Tours, there is a foundation that a small piece of your tour costs goes to and it just so happened that the local school in Iguazu was the sponsored school by the Gate 1 Foundation. Our group spent about an hour at the school to tour the facilities and meet some of the children. It was a great experience to learn about the challenges and opportunities the schools in Argentina face. We have so much to be grateful for in the USA.