It is no overstatement to call Iguazu Falls one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. And while it’s not the tallest waterfall on our planet, Iguazu is among the world’s largest waterfall systems — and by some accounts, it’s the largest.
The Iguazu River rumbles its way through Brazil before meeting with the edge of the Paraná Plateau. Here, its waters tumble over a precipice, in some parts raging over in a single massed cascade, most notably the section known as the Garganta del Diablo, or Devil’s Throat. In other areas, where islands segment the flow at the top of the falls, the water plummets down in more delicate flumes, to mix and join once again with the lower Iguazu below.
In total, there are between 150 and 300 waterfalls along Iguazu’s 1.7-mile span, depending on the season and the water level. Even after a dry spell, the falls are still a hugely impressive sight. In terms of height, Iguazu is almost twice as tall as Niagara Falls.
The two nearest towns — and the most common access points — are Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil. Buses and walkways on both sides allow visitors to explore the extent of the waterfall; some walkways head out over the water so you can get closer to the cascades. And while your eyes will be firmly fixed on the rainbow-flecked waterfalls, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by lush jungle, with a wealth of flora and fauna. The entire area is a national park — or, more specifically, two national parks, both of which were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the mid-1980s.
Whether you visit from the Argentine side or the Brazilian side (or both), one thing’s for sure: You cannot fail to be impressed by the raw power and natural majesty of the mighty Iguazu Falls.
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