Iguazu Falls, also known as Iguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls, are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones. The name for the falls comes from the Guarani word for, “great water”. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The falls are taller than the Niagara Falls, and twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River.
Iguazu Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption, which left yet another large crack in the earth. Many people have referred to the falls as, “the most beautiful site they have ever seen”. You can only access the falls through one of two cities. The first, Foz do Iguacu, is on the Brazilian side, and Puerto Iguazu is on the Argentine side. One of the falls on the Argentinean side is named for Spanish Conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca who in 1541 became the first European to discover them.
The falls are part of a jungle ecosystem protected by Argentine and Brazilian national parks on either side of the cascades. Two-thirds of the falls are on the Argentinian side of the river where you can also tour Iguazu National Park where there are jungle trails and bird hikes. The better view of the two is from the Brazilian side, where you can see the Devil’s Throat, which is where fourteen falls drop 350 feet with such force that there is always a one hundred foot cloud of spray overhead.
Iguazu has the greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world. During the rainy season of November through March, the rate of flow of water going over the falls may reach 450,000 cubic feet per second. During the other months, the amount of water averages 553 cubic feet per second, and it drops down an average of 269 feet below. This tropical location and the sheer beauty led Eleanor Roosevelt to call it, “Poor Niagara”. The best times to see the falls are in the spring and in the fall.
Cited: Amant, M. (2012, March 8). Iguazu Falls: 15 Amazing pictures and 10 Incredible Facts. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from Twisted Sifter: http://twistedsifter.com/2010/03/iguazu-falls-10-incredible-facts/ Epifanio, E. (2012). Tours and Activities: Iguazu Falls. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from Welcome Argentina: http://www.welcomeargentina.com/puertoiguazu/iguazu-falls.html Hamre, B. (2008, April 24). Iguazu Falls. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from About.com South America Travel: http://gosouthamerica.about.com/cs/southamerica/a/IguazuFalls.htm UNESCO. (2006, October 7). Iguazu National Park. Retrieved December 16, 2012, from United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/