Iguacu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, was added to the World Heritage List for two reasons: its exceptional natural beauty and because it's the habitat of rare and endangered species.
The Brazilian side of the park measures 170.086 ha. The adjacent Argentinian side is another World Heritage Site.
The waterfalls on both sides together span over 2700 m., and have a height of 80 m.
Iguacu is an indigenous (Tupi-Guarani) name, meaning Great Waters.
Map of IguacuLoad map
Visit October 2004
The Brazilian side of the waterfalls can easily be visited from the town of Foz do Iguacu. A bus takes you through the park, which is a bit too touristy for me (but maybe it has become necessary because of the number of visitors).
There's a lot of (manmade things) to see and to do here, but I came only for one: to see the falls in all their glory. And fortunately that's still possible. From a distance of one or two kms (?) you get an overview of the number of falls that together form a big and broad front.
A bit further on, you can get closer and let yourself get wet. Many rainbows colourize the falling water, lovely to see. The butterflies here also great to watch.
Iguacu is just a special place for me. I visited in April 2016, and I was lucky enough to experience the falls from land, water, and air. Early in the morning, I got on a helicopter for the first (and as of now, only) time in my life for a special view of the falls. From above, you can really appreciate the unique form of the falls. The falls start in the center of the river, where the famous Garganta del Diablo drops the waters of the mighty Iguacu River around 80 meters down with a thundering roar and spray of mist that can be seen kilometers away, eventually forming a jagged J-shape, littered with what seemed like a few hundred little islands. Probably my favorite part of the experience, however, was the Macaco Safari boat ride, which takes you up the river and into the falls. Prepare to get wet! This was really when I experienced the power of the falls first-hand, having it crashing into my face. No time to dry up, though, because it was time to go to the viewing decks, boardwalks on the waterfall itself! On the way, you pass viewpoints of the falls on the side of the gorge. It's a short walk in the jungle, made more interesting by the native wildlife, especially the coati, which I've never seen anywhere else. As you walk on, the roar of the falls gets louder until the mist starts blowing into you. I finally reached the boardwalk, and it was just magical. A wall of water towered above on one side, spraying water so strongly I could barely see with my glasses on. On the other side, the water fell into an abyss. No other waterfalls experience could have possibly prepared me for Iguacu.
Now to be objective: Yes, I know Iguacu isn't in any single dimension the greatest waterfall, let alone natural wonder, in the world. Angel Falls In Canaima NP is the tallest, and is an outstanding WHS in its own right. Waterfalls with stronger flows include those on the Congo and Mekong Rivers, and even Niagara, according to some sources. The widest single sheet of water is in Victoria Falls, which is also much taller than Iguacu. But I would dare to say Iguacu is the most powerful. A combination of being tall, wide, and strong, but so much more. I don't think any other waterfall has blessed its surroundings better than Iguacu. It's not just one of the most, if not the most, impressive waterfalls in the world, but it's also the last Interior Atlantic Forest. Despite not exactly facing the Atlantic, it's one of the richest pockets of rainforest this far south in the continent, thanks to a constant spray of mist from the falls. It has allowed for an extremely rich and unique ecosystem to flourish all around it. And when so much of it has been chopped down and replaced by farms and cities and reservoirs (RIP Guaira Falls), even we humans have chosen to preserve the forests that crown this world wonder. It's just that special a place. That being said, every WHS has its issues, and Iguacu is no different. Yes, I did see how commercial the park has become. It's no utter wilderness with its smoothly paved roads and tour buses and hotels. And of course, there's the fact that it's basically half a site. Iguacu was inscribed a long time ago in 1986. Only problem, the other half of it, Iguazu NP in Argentina, was inscribed 2 years earlier. And God only knows why the Brazilian side wasn't simply made an extension. Instead, we have 2 WHS with the exact same OUV. I guess I'll just take it as motivation to see the falls from the other side someday. I didn't get to cross into Argentina because Filipino passport holders need to apply for a visa beforehand, and my family and I hadn't, but that's an adventure for another day. Issues aside, I think Iguacu/Iguazu is a great enough site that even its halves can stand on their own and make an impact on any traveller. In my opinion, this is the greatest waterfall and one of the most awe-inspiring and impacting natural wonders in the world. And it's probably my most enjoyable 1-day WHS visit ever. I'd be back in a heartbeat.
The Brazilian side of things gives you a more distance view of the Garganta del Diablo , which is the most spectecular of all waterfalls in Iguazù area. However there is a very nice walk along the Rio Iguazù with views on all Argentinian waterfalls and there are some nice lookout points that are close to waterfalls on the Brazilian side which was in the summer heat very refreshing. However because the Brazilian park is smaller and there are less options of what people can visit it feels a lot more crowded than the Argentinian side. Maybe it was also the effect of visiting of Sunday, that Ißm not sure about. Animal wise you have the coatis that stop you from taking a lunch break on the floor, some other monkeys and the raptors flying over the falls.
All in all the park with these waterfalls is really a must see and even more a must experience!
Read more from Timonator here.
In August 2018, I visited Iguaçu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina, the largest cataract system in the world. Iguaçu National Park in Brazil was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1987, three years after the complementary park in Argentina. Commentators often claim that one side of the falls is superior to the other, but having also visited Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side in 2011, in my view, it’s a tie and both sides rank among the world’s greatest natural wonders as the best waterfall system.
I also visited Parque das Aves, an aviary located near the entrance to Iguaçu National Park, which exhibits more than 1,500 birds from 150 species, most from Brazil, including toucans and parrots and plenty of unusual birds that I hadn’t seen before. More than half of the birds were rescued from mistreatment or animal trafficking. The park rehabilitates and releases into the wild as many of its birds as possible.
From the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, though, you get the overview of the whole waterfall complex and, for me, this is where the true awe lies. It’s when you realise the scale of not just the individual cascades but the entire system that you appreciate this experience. The white animation of the water contrasting with the brown cliffs, the striking clouds on the blue sky mimicking the colour of the water, and the green of the jungle bringing it altogether… it’s a photographer’s dream. I couldn’t stop my camera, it was like it had a life of its own, and from every new vantage point there seemed to appear new angles that needed to be captured.
Read more from Michael Turtle here.
I'd heard that Iguaçu National Park in Brazil offered the best views of Iguazu Falls, and the park did not disappoint. All visitors must ride a bus from the park entrance to the trails serving the falls, and I rather enjoyed the view of the rainforest from the top deck. Once I arrived at the main trail, I was immediately captivated by the view of the Argentine falls near the boat dock. From the Brazilian side you can walk for somewhere between one and two kilometers and not run out of awesome waterfall views, which was the biggest surprise for me. At the end of the trail a boardwalk leading out to the Devil's Throat, a narrow U-shaped set of waterfalls, provides visitors with the best opportunity to get soaked by the spray from the falls (although vendors would be more than happy to sell you a poncho). A tower near the boardwalk also offers a panoramic view that's worth seeing. Iguazu Falls was as spectacular as I'd imagined, and I'm glad I took the time to see them from the Brazilian park when I visited in March of this year.
Logistics: Iguaçu National Park is accessible by car or bus from both Foz de Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina.
The disappointing thing is that this is in the Atlantic rainforest of which only 7% remains. They need to more on the educational front with species under threat such as the harpy eagle etc. Recycling in the park but it all goes to the same landfill site. Tourism is good for the area but alot of work still needs to be done.
Hey guys :),
This year in the June/July holidays, me and my family went to Iguacu National Park. I didn't realise that it would be so spectacular! Like Anne-Sophie Bertrand, I recommend seeing the Devil's Throat and also going on a boat-ride under the falls!!! You really don't know what your missing if you don't see the Falls in your lifetime!
It was sooooo much fun and I hope that you guys will visit there sometime soon, also! :)
If anyone thinks they can get away with seeing only the Argentine or the Brazilian side of the falls, they are wrong!. It is vital that you see both sides to get the whole experience.
While the majority of the falls stand on the Argentine side of the border, it is only from the Brazilian side that you can see the full panorama.
The free bus service (included in the entry fee) that operates throught the park stops a several points where different views of the falls can be seen. Only after stopping off a few times did I begin to realise just how large the the falls really are.
One word of warning however: please do not patronise the helicopters, they are believed to be causing damage to the fauna and flora in the National Park.
I have been given the chance to live within the park boundaries for two months and to work there as a wildlife biologist. It was just the most intense place I have ever been in. There is so much energy once you get down into the Devil's Throat (which is the name of the main water fall). If you get the chance to go there, don't miss the chance to do some rafting in the Iguaçu River and enjoy the trails around it.
But, remember : these waterfall are one of this world's wonders, they are to be respected (so...As your mom would remind you : put trash in garbages, don't feed the animals (even though they will look very friendly to you and to your granola bar...) and keep on trails). Thanks for them!
Now, you are all set to experience one of your most unforgettable nature trip ! Have fun
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2001 Removed from Danger list
1999 In Danger
Four issues: The Colon road, helicopter flights, dams on the Iguacu River, and management planning.
Brazil requested to join with Argentina
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