The Iguazú Falls are one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural sights, with visitors spellbound by its vast scale, thunderous sound, and soaking spray. Nestled between two national parks and the countries of Brazil and Argentina, this horseshoe-shaped chain of hundreds of cascading waterfalls is an incredible spectacle with some equally incredible and interesting facts.
The votes are in: the Iguazu Falls, having already been a UNESCO World Heritage Site have won their place among the great natural wonders of the world, following a worldwide poll in 2011 taking into account more than 500 million votes.
Spread-eagled along the Argentine-Brazil border, Iguazu normally boasts around 275 separate falls, however, this number can vary between 150 and 300 dependent upon the season and water levels.
One could easily spend a few days absorbing this awe-inspiring spectacle and the stunning side trips … and many do, with over a million people visiting the Iguazu National Park every year, the record currently at 1.9 million set in 2018.
Iguazu Falls translate from the native Guarani for ‘big water’ – not surprising given the awesome sight as tonnes of water throw themselves over cliffs, and the mist rises into the jungle.
They are taller than Niagara Falls (and four times as wide) which led Eleanor Roosevelt to exclaim on her first sight of them: “Poor Niagara!”. Technically Iguazu is wider than Victoria Falls too, however, because it is split into numerous distinct individual falls, Victoria Falls has the claim to the largest single curtain of falling water.
Local legends say that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, but she loved another, a mortal man named Tarobá. The lovers fled together by canoe away from the god, but they couldn’t paddle fast enough. The god, enraged and heartbroken, sliced the river creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
In the forest of the Iguazu National Park you can find the opossum, the only marsupial to be found outside of Australia.
During the rainy season between November and March, there is a surge in the waterfalls’ water volume, increasing from an average flow of 60, 000 cubic feet per second to a phenomenal 450,000 cubic feet per second (that’s roughly 3.4 million US gallons every second!).
Due to its horseshoe shape, you can stand at a single point along one of the viewing platforms and be surrounded by an astonishing 260 degrees of waterfalls, offering some incredible family trip photo opportunities.
The falls have been featured in various Hollywood blockbusters, from The Mission and Miami Vice, to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and most recently, Black Panther.
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