An absolutely mandatory spot to visit on your South American Bucket list has to be the giant Iguazu Waterfalls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. These falls will amaze you, surprise you and leave you speechless. Here you will experience one of nature’s most incredible performances.
We do get why the falls over and over again are voted to be amongst the most imposing natural wonders of the world. In 2011 The waterfalls were voted to be one of the worlds new seven natural wonders and has been declared a world natural heritage by Unesco.
You might have seen pictures of the falls or even a tv program but nothing can prepare you for this meeting with Mother Nature’s roaring unparalleled power demonstration. Every year the falls have more than a million visitors. We are sure that they all leave with an unforgettable experience deeply rooted in their hearts
We visited the falls in March, during the rainy season, when the amount of water is on it’s highest. The amount of water pouring through the falls can vary throughout the year but during the rainy season, it can rise to more than 13000 cubic meters every second. The Iguazu waterfalls extend over 2.7 kilometres and consist of more than 275 falls. The number varies according to the season. In native Guarani language, Iguazu means “big water”. No wonder why !!!
During our visit to The Iguazu Falls, we stayed in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina but you can just as well stay in Foz do Iguazu in Brasil. We had just joined The Vendemia in Mendoza and were going to Buenos Aires after Iguazu so for us, it was a question of convenience. Puerto Iguazu itself hasn’t much to offer its visitors but you will find satisfying accommodation, nice restaurants and cafes and a place or two where you can chill and grab a beer after a long eventful day at the falls.
Puerto Iguazu seems to be a quiet and safe town and it offers very good transportation connections. However, you should also visit the Brazilian part of the falls to get the true feel of this magnificent phenomenon of nature. It’s quite easy to arrange day trips to Brazil from Puerto Iguazu.
When visiting the mighty Iguazu waterfalls you should spend at least 4-5 days. When staying in Argentina there are several different tours, trails and circuits to choose from and to get the best impression of the falls you should take a big mouthful of it all. We especially recommend The Upper Circuit, The Lower Circuit, The Devil’s Throat tour and a slow ride aboard the almost silent Ecological Train that runs through more than 3,5 kilometres of the most fantastic rainforest.
You can also take a free boat ride to San Martin Island. From here you will have spectacular views towards The San Martin Waterfall and experience the tremendous power of the curtain of falling water directly in front of you. You will get goosebumps all over, even in places you didn’t know existed. This is truly one of Mother Nature’s grand spectacles.
It is obvious that the waterfalls are the biggest attraction in this area of South America, but having said that, you should also have your eyes open to the immensely unique flora and fauna you will come across in the surrounding rainforest. Here you will find more than 2000 species of native flora, 450 species of birds, 80 mammal species and not to mention the abundance of colourful butterflies.
Another absolute must see when visiting Iguazu is the mighty Itaipu Dam. One of the largest and most expensive man-made constructions on the planet. The Itaipu is the worlds second largest hydroelectric power station. It’s as high as a 65-story skyscraper and has a length of more than 7200 meters. More than 40000 workers participated in the construction that took approximately 10 years. With the amount of concrete used a 4500-kilometre long two-way highway could be built. This is a truly jaw-dropping structure.