The big three daddies of waterfalls world on earth are considered to be the Iguaçu Falls (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay), the Niagara Falls (Canada and USA), and the Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe).
As we started planning our Brazil trip we were very certain to visit the magnificent natural wonder of Iguaçu falls. Foz do Iguaçu, a town that prospered with construction of the Itaipu Dam, serves as access point to visit the waterfalls from the Brazilian side. Iguaçu means “BIG WATERS” in Guarani language. Millions of years formed the basaltic rocks canyon where the Iguaçu river falls in 20 km downstream joining the Parana river.
The waterfalls vary in number depending on rainy season along the year, reaching 270 during wet months to minimum of 150 during dryer days. The water volume can reach a mind boggling 6,500 cubic meters per second during flood seasons. The waterfalls are protected under Iguaçu National Park.
First sight of the falls at beginning of Cataratas Trail
After purchasing the park (R$40) and boat trip (R$170) tickets we took the Cataratas Trail, an easy walk offering excellent panoramic viewing balconies and several photo-points leading to the Devil’s Throat balcony and Naipi spot. Along the trail with amazing views of the falls you would meet several playful mountains Coati. The Devil’s throat Balcony offers an amazing view of the biggest waterfall in the park pouring out from near 90 meters height letting you get as close to the falls as possible. We were totally drenched with downpour of falls even after standing feet away. What made the spectacular view of waterfall even more stunning was the number of rainbows formed as sun rays reflected on gushing waters.
View from the Devil’s Throat balcony
The flow at Devil’s throat was so powerful all we could see is the cloud being formed with all the mist of the pouring water. Completely soaked we then headed to Naipi Spot, a 27 meter high elevator that leads to viewing balcony right at top of the waterfall. If this doesn’t pump your adrenaline enough more adventure waits ahead for you in the park!
Macuco Safari Company operates twin-engine speed boat rides that take you right under the closest and “safest” falls. The approximately three hour Macuco Safari starts with a guided tour through exuberant forest of Iguaçu National Park on a jungle wagon exploring the flora. Later there is a small hike exploring the crystal clear waters of “Salto do Macuco” waterfalls after which the boat company was named. And finally we arrive at boarding point for our boat ride, leaving valuables behind in lockers as we warned we were going to get really really wet. The boat ride starts on bustling river with quiet an incredible view of green valleys leading to the waterfalls. As we get closer to the waterfalls we started realizing the force at which waters were flowing with a thundering sound. Gradually we get closer to the falls and eventually so close that it becomes almost impossible to keep one’s eyes open with the torrential showering of waters.
Devil’s Throat surrounded by mist of waters
Later when I saw the whole thing on a recorded video it felt like we all were acting as if we were caught in a middle of a heavy cloudburst gasping for our lives! Undeniably that was the best natural shower I ever had, the chills, the force, the speed, the yelping of joy, and there could be no better way to enjoy the sheer majesty of the waterfalls. I thought the fun was over but not yet, on our way back to the platform on the boat, the captain fantastically played with the rapids on the river, giving me us more chills with waters of rivers spurted on us.
Before boarding my flight the same evening to Rio de Janeiro, the most spectacular creation of nature, the Iguacu falls decanting gallons of gushing water left us drenched in a total awe with “wet” memories for a lifetime! Oh yes and the big debate on the topic is which side the views are better of the falls, I would be by the Brazilian side. As told to me by a Brazilian, as the majority of falls sit in Argentina, the view from Brazil is always going to be more compelling!
Rainbow and the falls
Iguaçu Falls right from the top
I love Iguaçu Falls!