The Spectacular Iguaçu Falls in Brazil
Straddling the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná, and the province of Misiones in Argentina, the Iguaçu Falls are a spectacular sight from either side of the border. Originating near the city of Curitiba, the Iguaçu River flows through Brazil, merging with the San Antonio River and forming the boundary between the two countries. Legend has it that this great rift in the earth came about when an enraged god struck the river upon discovering his bride-to-be had fled in a canoe with her mortal lover. Geologists tell it differently as a crack in the earth resulting from a volcanic eruption. Either way, the result is breathtaking and a major tourist attraction for both Argentina and Brazil.
The Iguaçu Falls are influenced by the season. In the rainy season, the water rushes over the edge of the crevasse in a hundred or so wide falls. When the river is at its seasonal low, a host of small rocky islets emerge at the edge of the cliffs, breaking the water into as many as 275 separate waterfalls. Strategically placed viewing platforms allow visitors to view this amazing sight from different angles, while sightseeing boats take visitors to the base of the falls, and maybe even under, depending on the water flow. Another exciting option is to take a sightseeing boat above the falls, almost right to the point where the water goes gushing over the edge – if you dare. Helicopter rides are available for those who can afford them, and if you are taking a commercial flight to or from Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, try to get a window seat, as most flight paths pass over the falls.
The falls can be accessed from Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, as well as from Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. The Iguaçu National Park is listed by UNESCO as National Heritage of Humanity and is protected by decree of the Brazilian authorities. The goal of the park is to preserve the ecological and scenic ecosystems, enable scientific research and promote environmental education and ecological tourism. Visitors to the Iguaçu Falls and National Park will soon agree that this attraction is something well worth preserving.