Argentina, South America
Iguazu Falls, a large horseshoe shaped cataract carved in the River Iguazu, which surpasses the Niagara Falls in Canada/U.S.A. and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe in size, and is one of the great natural wonders of South America.
A spectacular series of nearly 300 (The number varies with the seasons) individual falls interspersed among rocky islands along an escarpment of approximately 5 km long, each drop 60 m and more, at the frontier between Brazil and Argentina and Paraguay.
There are about twenty major drops.
Walkways go over and around the falls in the surrounding lush, semi-tropical forest with many different rain forest trees, orchids, bamboo, pine and palms. A wide variety of birds and butterflies are found everywhere in this dense National Park.
The roar of the falling waters and the mist and rainbows above the falls can be heard and seen from miles away.
On the Argentinean side and on the Brazilian side as well you can walk on miles long walkways over the falls which provides a spectacular view of Garganta do Diablo (Devil's Throat).
There are observation towers at the Santa Maria and the Floriano Falls.
Most of the falls are on Argentinean side, but they are best viewed from the Brazilian side.
You can also take a boat tour or a helicopter ride to see the Falls up close.
Iguazu in Guarani language (The local Indian Population) means big water.
The crest of the falls is more than 60 m high and the water falls partly in a large double drop or in a series of cataracts.
In the dry season two crescents of water are formed, each 732 m wide; in the wet season the two merge into one vast fall nearly 5 km wide.
No words or photos can do proper justice to the Iguazu Falls.
The river originates in the Serra do Mar Mountains and is joined by many tributaries on its way to the falls.
It joins the Parana River about 22 km to the southwest and later receiving the Uruguay River to form the estuary of the River Plate.
The Iguazu National Park in Argentina and Iguaçu National Park in Brazil together protect the Iguazu Falls and about 2,300 square kilometres of tropical rainforest around it.
Soon after our arrival at the Airport we were accosted by one of the agents (Bayardo Hornos) of Four Tourist travel and a very attractive picture of our sightseeing trip was presented to us.
We were promised everything until we paid up.
In reality we ended up very unhappy and feeling fiddled, cheated and short-changed.
These sales people have wide knowledge of various countries visitors are likely to come from.
They endear themselves to you by praising your country and call you by the nickname of your country, (Kiwis in our case) also rattling off numbers of people they dealt with from your country etc.
Now the promises and the unkept promises.
We were very interested to take the trip, after all that's what we came for, and the sales talk and promises sound very good, but very soon we got our first disappointment, he would not accept our Visa (Cost too much commission and rampant inflation, he claimed).
As New Zealanders we have to buy U.S. dollars of which we only had a limited supply, to last another 6 weeks.
We were to go on a jungle safari, a boat ride up to the falls, (We did get these two and thoroughly enjoyed it them), then we were to be transferred to a regular free boat to go to the island where another boat would have taken us to the Devil's Throat.
Arriving at the landing we were promised a video of our boat trip, to be delivered to our hotel but we never received that and we were told the free boat to the island was not running, neither did the boat to the Devil's Throat.
From the landing site now we had to walk to catch a little train to take us near the walkway over the falls.
We got lost, because the people promised to meet us at arranged places just weren't there.
Our walk over the falls was terrific, thoroughly enjoyable.
Next day the continuation of our tour was just as troublesome.
I desperately wanted to explore Foz do Iguacu, the Brazilian Iguazu town, but our driver only give us a glimpse of it, claiming we had no time, but we had to spend 5 hours at the Airport waiting for our plane.
Iguazu town, our Hotel the Los Helechos (Telefax(03757)4-20338, was reasonably priced and quiet adequate) and the spectacle of the falls were terrific.
Please be careful with the choice of your tour companies, the unkept promises can be expensive and disappointing.
Iguazu, (Puerto Iguazu) is a small town 18 km from the entrance to the park and bears the name of the river and the famous and spectacular falls.
Famous for the falls and most of the inhabitants work or service the tourist industry.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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