Before we started planning our around-the-world honeymoon, we had barely heard of Iguazu Falls. When we found out it was listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, we looked into it and with one glimpse at their lush location and countless falls, we had to go hear the roar and feel the mist ourselves.
Straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls should definitely be seen from both sides, starting with Brazil. It looks at the Argentine-based falls from a distance and gives you a sense of just how massive and magnificent this endless series of waterfalls really is. (Though ironically, the photo directly above shows approx 40% of the waterfalls that make up Iguazu.) The Brazilian side is made of a series of walkways, zigzagging along the shores of the river and jutting out into the falls, it takes about 2-4 hours to complete, depending how snap-happy you get (happily, it took us four.).
Swapping the role of photographer with other traveling couples has been an amazing ice breaker so far on our trip. We met this great European couple, Sophie and Christian, on the Brazilian side and immediately hit it off. After a venerable photo shoot, they offered to take us across the border in their hired car (we later heard about a $140 visa when you enter Argentina, that we apparently slipped past in the back seat–score!).
Falls as far as the eye can see with enough beauty to create a lifetime of memories. Just amazing.
One of our favorite parts of Iguazu is the complexity. It isn’t just one large fall that impresses with its height (think Victoria Falls), or one massive wall of water (think Niagara Falls), but many levels and channels powerfully carving their way through lush rainforest.
As you walk along the endless trail system on the Argentine side of the falls (which is hands down the side to spend the most time at…we recommend two full days on this side so you can really soak it in), you notice remnants of old walkways and platforms that were ravaged by a huge flood in recent decades.
About 50% of the water volume at Iguazu plummets from this section they call the Devil’s Throat causing a roar that can not be imagined, and a wall of mist so dense and towering you can’t see the river for a ¼ mile down stream. (Check out this video for a taste of the thunder!)
Then just when you think this place couldn’t get any more amazing, the animals appear. Iguazu is practically a zoo, from these adorable coatis, to dozens of butterfly species, toucans, catfish, caimans, turtles, and who knows what else.
The “88” butterflies followed us everywhere, sporting their beautiful zebra stripes and uncanny numbers.
The fine mist, which placards aptly called “Pulverized Water,” causes perpetual rainbows from nearly every vantage point in the park. While we didn’t have quite this reaction to the double rainbow, it was quite spiritual.
The late day sunset over the falls left some magical rays for the water to dance in. And with birds chirping and palm trees swaying…the falls put on quite an afternoon number.
To top off the day the four of us took this six-person rowboat directly into the falls! (okay, it wasn’t really a rowboat, it was a 30-person monster zodiac, but when the falls are this size, and the plumes of water exploding off the surface are over 100-feet tall, it might as well be a row boat.)
What is the most amazing waterfall you have visited? Even if it was a five-meter waterfall on a beautiful hike in Vermont 🙂