Published: April 12th 2012April 12th 2012
So after four weeks in Foz do Iguaçu I finally make it to the Iguaçu Waterfalls, the number one attraction in this area of Brazil. And I will tell you straightaway that they were more than worth the wait! They are as amazing as I had imagined them to be and as beautiful as they had been reported to be.
The falls themselves lie on the Iguaçu river, part of the border between Argentina and Brazil, as such they can be seen from both countries, although each one offers a completely different experience. My first visit was the Brazilian side, and I have to say my favourite side, although after a enjoyable month here I may be biased towards this country, who can tell. The Falls are wider than the Victoria Falls and taller than Niagara Falls and were recently announced as one the New7 Wonders of Nature, and after even a short glimpse of them it is easy to see why.
The Iguaçu falls are split into upto and above 300 different falls, the amount is dependent on the rainfall and the management of water through the nearby Itaipu Dam. We visited while the river was quite low
meaning the Falls were fewer in number than could have been although they still managed to take your breath away.
To enter the Falls on the Brazilian side, you enter the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Iguaçu National Park and take a short bus ride to get closer to the water. From the open top deck of the double decker bus you can get a real panoramic view of the Park. You can see many of the different types of trees and can see more of the wildlife that enjoys them. From the ground you can look up and see proud Jays in the trees, fluffing up their feathers and enjoying the view as much as the humans passing by below are enjoying it. There are butterflies of all colours and sizes fluttering around your head and landing nearby almost unaware of your presence, everywhere within the Park you know that you are surrounded by the fresh beauty of nature, a calming and relaxing reminder of your place in the World.
Of all the wildlife in the Park however, the Quati is the most dominant. A member of the raccoon family, the Quati is happy to run
among your feet and is forever hungry, a feeling that I understand well! At first, they can be quite disconcerting as they run around you and jump up next to you to see if you have any food. Luckily we had followed good advice and did not have any with us, as they are known to steal food from your hands and to take your lunch even as it is on its way to your mouth. As they found no dinner from the passers by, they resorted to climbing in and out of the bins, knocking the wasps out of the way in the process. They were very funny to watch and really added to the whole experience of the Park, although I think many people may disagree with my viewpoint there.
Stepping off of the bus you are more aware than ever of the humidity and the closeness that comes from being within the forest in a sub-tropical climate. Then, following the guided trail from the bus stop you are slowly drip fed beautiful views of trickling falls that build and build until you reach the main waterfalls. The sheer intensity and loud gushing of these falls almost
make you forget the enchanting prettiness of the delicate falls that you viewed on the way up. But when pieced together they form the most spectacular views that I ever seen. The feeling of being tiny and insiginficant in the face of nature that I experienced at Macchu Pichu is equalled here, only here instead of the silence and tranquility of the grass and hills you are met with the strength and brutal force of the water. An experience that will live on and on in my mind.
At the feet of the main falls is a wooden walkway, which enables you to get closer to the water and to see further into the froth of the Falls. You are conscious throughout the walk that you are moving along the border of the two countries and here at the end of the trail you can see the Flags of Argentina and Brazil flying proudly above their respective Falls. You are also greeted by not one but two rainbows floating in the mists of the water, a perfect reminder of the beauty that the Earth can offer.
The Brazilian side of the Waterfalls offers you the overall experience and
gives you an understanding of the bigger picture, but to get closer and to feel the water itself it was another trip across the border to Argentina...
There are more photos below