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The Iguazu Falls are a series of over 270 waterfalls stretching for over one and a half miles through lush forest on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The falls culminate in the incredible Devil’s Throat, the 700-metre long, 82-metre high horseshoe-shaped falls.
The local Gurani legend of Iguazu is that a god who was destined to marry a beautiful local girl became angry when she ran off with another lover. As they were escaping down the river, the god was so enraged, that he collapsed the river bed causing the girl to fall and turn into a rock at the base of the falls, and although the boy jumped out, he was turned into a tree. The Guarani people believe that the couple still manages to show their love by forming a rainbow which starts at a palm tree on the Brazilian side of the falls and reaches over to the rock in Argentina.
In reality, the falls are the result of a volcanic flow, resulting in an abrupt drop in the earth, over which the Iguazu River flows. The falls are located partly in Brazil and partly in Argentina, with national parks in both countries. It is well worth visiting both sides of the falls, as they offer different experiences.
The Brazilian side of the falls offers the more impressive panoramic vistas, with grand views toward Argentina, and is usually visited first. You follow the trail along the river, with galleries offering viewing points. There is a walkway under the Floriano Falls, giving a wonderful view, and you can also follow the walkway to the middle of the river, from where you get a splendid view of the Devil’s Throat.
The Argentinean side of the falls has several trails which can be followed, and a full day is recommended to explore the area. A train takes you to a one-kilometre walkway over the River Iguazu, from where you can get right above the Devil’s Throat falls. You can peer right over the edge, looking down at the river 80-metres below.
The upper circuit follows the falls from above, offering wonderful views from above some of the falls. The lower circuit follows the waters edge below the falls, with great views of some of the larger falls. There are steep steps to get to the lower circuit. In addition, there is a ferry to San Martin Island, where there are viewpoints to admire the surrounding falls.
Apart from seeing the falls from the walkways, it is possible to take an adrenalin-filled, and drenching, boat ride to the base of the falls. Boat rides can be booked at the visitor centre.
In addition to the trails following the edge of the falls, there are some trails through the forest, allowing you to enjoy the jungle scenery and spot some of the wildlife. This includes toucans, butterflies, coatis, monkeys and caimans
- Population: 80,000 (Puerto Iguazu)
- Altitude: 150 metres
- Climate: The climate around the Iguazú Falls is generally hot and humid throughout the year. October through to April is the warmest time of year, with daytime temperatures between 25°C and 30°C and night-time temperatures between 15°C and 20°C. The rest of the year is cooler with daytime temperatures between 20°C and 25°C and night-time temperatures between 10°C and 15°C. October to February are usually the wettest months, although these can also be the most impressive when the water flow is strongest.