"Falling Water . . ." Top 5 Page for this destination Parque Nacional del Iguazù by acemj

Parque Nacional del Iguazù Travel Guide: 399 reviews and 1,166 photos

Las Cataratas

I wonder if the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright ever visited the Iguassu Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Creativity can often be inspired by nature and this being the case, I would recommend that all aspiring young architects, artists and musicians pay a visit to the most magnificent waterfalls that I have ever seen.

I hate to compare too often, but as a personal reference point, Niagara Falls comes to mind. It is said that Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed "poor Niagara" after visiting Iguassu Falls. In fact, Niagara's volume of water is greater, but Iguassu is nearly 4 times wider than her North American counterpart.

I've also heard people compare these cataratas (Spanish for waterfalls) to Victoria Falls in Africa (the world's largest falls). While I've never been to Africa, I've heard that the thundering mist produced by Victoria Falls often makes it more difficult to see and appreciate. Iguassu's mist, on the other hand, is very fine and doesn't obscure your view of the amazing sight. It is more than this though. There is something just magical about the forest that surrounds the falls here. The water seems to seep out in places and explode from the cliffs in others. The greenery that contrasts with the white and turbulent water is beautiful to behold. Also, this is not just one giant waterfall. It's actually a series of 275 falls that stretches for almost two miles along a great crack in the earth caused by volcanic activity long ago.

A great debate

In this part of the world, it is often debated which side of the border is best to experience the grandeur of the falls. I spent the previous day exploring the Brazilian side of the falls and I felt my trip would be incomplete without giving the Argentine side a chance as well.

What was my conclusion? Well, for the overall view, the overwhelming spectacle, and to comprehend the energy and scope of these waterfalls, my vote is for Brazil. But, to experience more subtle wonders, greater surprises, more wildlife and better trails, you can't miss Argentina. In other words, you've got to see both sides!!! After all, both national parks are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Legends of Iguassu

First of all, in English it's Iguassu. In Spanish, Iguazu and in Portuguese, Iguacu , but the etymology of the word derives from an Guarani (natives) word, meaning "big water".

The Caingangues Indians who once lived in this area had a theory about how the falls were formed that, while contradicting modern scientific evidence, makes for a much better story. They believed that M'boy, a God-serpent, ruled the world. When a beautiful girl named Naipi was set to be sacrificed to M'boy, the young son of the Caingangues chief named Taroba decided to try to save her. On the night of the scheduled sacrifice, Taroba and Naipi tried to flee, but M'boy was angered and unsympathetic to their love, so he created a great crack in the earth that formed the waterfalls and transformed Taroba into a palm tree and Naipi into a rock beneath the falls where they can both be seen to this day.

  • Last visit to Parque Nacional del Iguazù: Oct 2003
  • Intro Updated Oct 25, 2003
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Reviews (36)

Comments (24)

  • Apr 21, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    Beautiful page, great tips. Thanks.

  • staindesign's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2006 at 2:45 PM

    What an amazing page!! I wish more people had info on S. America, I am a little tired of 800 pages on Rome. Good job, i hope to see something from your Bolivia pages!

  • la_beba's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2006 at 2:56 PM

    The weather was PERFECT when I was there! it was the most amazing 13 days I've had in a looooooong time! Tx for asking!

  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2005 at 7:29 AM

    What a meticulously prepared page - and what wonderful photos!! Marvellous!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2005 at 10:50 PM

    An excellent page on a fantastic destination ! I hope to visit one day !

  • whitecliff62's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2005 at 10:39 AM

    Hi Mark and thank you for visiting my Pammukale page, sorry its been a while in responding, its been a bit hectic over here yesterday.

  • SORHUS's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2004 at 10:32 AM

    what a beautful place :-)

  • quime's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2004 at 8:45 AM

    Wonderfull Iguazu page! thanks for sharing those beautiful pic and comments!!!

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2004 at 7:23 AM

    Fantastic page Mark! Your photos are beautiful! And wow, wow, wow, what a place!!! A dream place to visit! Hopefully some day.... :-)) And I'll make sure to visit both sides of the border if I do!

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2004 at 10:04 PM

    Obviously an awe-inspiring place, I can see the 'poor Niagara' reference. Quite a liquid drapery...wow. Quite different perspectives from both sides. I love the Toucans. What a fabulous trip and a great account of it too. Your pics are fabulous!

acemj

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