Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls are a series of waterfalls stemming from the Iguazu River. They are located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná (in the southern region) and the Argentine province of Misiones.

The waterfall system consists of about 260-270 falls along 2.7 kilometers (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River. Some of the individual falls are up to 82 meters (269 feet) in height, though the majority are about 64 meters (210 feet). Most of the falls are within Argentine territory, but from the Brazilian side there is a more panoramic view of the falls.

The first European to find the falls was the Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, after whom one of the falls in the Argentine side is named.

The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and the Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). These parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1986, respectively.

The name Iguazu comes from the Tupi-Guarani words which mean "great water" or "big water." The legend says that a god pretended to marry a beautiful aborigine named Naipú, who fled with her mortal lover in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river creating the waterfalls, condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

There are two main towns on either side of the falls: Foz do Iguaçu in the Brazilian state of Paraná, and Puerto Iguazú in the Misiones province of Argentina. Other important tourist attractions near the falls include the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant, and the Jesuit missions of the Guaranis in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

It is said that upon seeing Iguazu, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" Vastly larger than North America's Niagara Falls, Iguazu is rivalled only by southern Africa's Victoria Falls, which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. While Iguazu Falls is wider because it is split into about 270 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of water in the world, at over a mile wide and over 90 meters (300 feet) in height.

Iguazu Falls allows for wonderful views and walkways, and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one location a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Garganta del Diablo has water pouring into it from three sides, which makes for an exceptional sight.

 

JOURNEYS trips that include Iguazu Falls:

Bountiful Brazil

Iguazu Falls trip extension

 

Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguazu

 

 

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