Dates visited: December 28, 2013 – December 29, 2013
This was our last Brazilian stop (little over 2 hrs flight from Rio de Janeiro) to see the magnificent Iguaçu Falls (second of my four I-absolutely-have-to-see waterfalls—Niagara Falls, Iguaçu/ Iguazú Falls, Victoria Falls and Angel Falls). Since I love waterfalls, this was the highlight of my trip. Iguaçu Falls is at the intersection of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. We stayed one night in Foz de Iguaçu, saw the falls from the Brazilian side the next day, and then drove to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina in the evening to see the falls (called Iguazú Falls in Argentina) from the Argentinean side, the day after. The Brazilian side gives a panoramic view of the falls while the Argentinean side takes you up-close to the falls. Being a waterfalls enthusiast, I’d highly recommend seeing the falls from both the sides, but if your thrill is only in experiencing the thunderous force of water (à la Niagara Falls style), then stick with the Argentinean side. Talking about Niagara Falls, Wikipedia has the following entry for Iguaçu Falls: “Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States’ First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” (which, at 50 m or 165 feet, are a third shorter).” She couldn’t have summed it up any better!
Iguaçu Falls consists of 275 waterfalls separated by islands. The trail through the Iguaçu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, allows you ample viewing spots to get mesmerized by the stunning display of nature’s work at its best. And just when you think, the scenery can’t get any better, the trail ends as a walkway leading you to the lower end of Garganta do Diabo (Devil’s Throat)—a long and narrow chasm that takes in half of the flow of Iguaçu river. The deafening roar and the thundering power of water conjure up a mist that makes the entire experience magical. I would rate this experience hundred stars out of ten!
We also visited the nearby Parque das Aves (Bird Park). It has a large and varied collection, and we probably spent close to two hours here. It’s not necessarily a must-see, but if you are here, why not?!