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The Amazing Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls are waterfalls located on the Iguazu River in the jungle on the boundary of Argentina and Brazil. In Spanish it is called Cataratas del Iguazu and in Portuguese it is called Cataratas do Iguacu.
There are over 275 separate waterfalls along 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) of the Iguazu River. The majority of these waterfalls are about 65 metres (210 ft); however The Devil's Throat, a U-shaped cataract falls is 82 meters high and 700 meter long. It is the most impressive of all the falls and the border between Argentina and Brazil passes through this waterfall.
In comparison, Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River which separates Canada and the USA. Niagara Falls has only three falls for a total width of 1.11 kilometers with a height of 53 m (173 ft.).
I visited Iguazu Falls in February 2010 for two days staying at the Sheraton Hotel located in the Iguazu National Park on the Argentina side. A two day visit was not long enough as I did not make it to the Brazil side. However if you do travel to the Brazilian side, a Visa is required.
There are three major walking trails/bridges/walkways (look on the attached map) called the Lower Circuit, Upper Circuit and Devil’s Throat Circuit. All three are well worth walking as there are just so many different falls, vistas, birds, butterflies, animals, insects, flowers, bushes, etc. to see as you are in the jungle. The trails are mostly steel bridges or walkways and are completely safe for the thousands of tourists that visit here daily.
If you are on the Lower Circuit and notice girls in bikinis, they are planning to go on a boat trip on the lower Iguazu River into the base of the Iguazu Falls. On the attached map it is the route marked in broken yellow lines beginning at the "Departure" spot. We took this boat trip expecting it be like the Maid of the Mist boat trip at Niagara Falls where you do get wet but the raincoat mostly protects you. Well we were wrong! We are given a waterproof pouch for our valuables and a life jacket, but no rain coat. After travelling on the boat to the base of several falls, we were told to put our cameras into the waterproof pouch as we were going to retrace our path but this time travel, not just into the mist, but into the water as water actually fell onto my shoulder with such force that I was 100% soaked. I did not put my wallet into the pouch and my Argentinean Pesos got wet! My advice to you is: wear your bathing suit if you take this boat trip! Now we know why some girls were wearing bikinis!
One noticeable thing when walking the trails is the number of butterflies. As this is a tropical jungle with high humidity, there were thousands of beautiful butterflies of all different colors flying freely all over and even landing on you.
As to the wildlife that we saw both on a Jungle Safari in a 4x4 that we took and in the Iguazu National Park, were monkeys, Aguti (member of the Guinea Pig family), turtles, Coati (member of the Raccoon family), Iguana, lizards, Tiger Ants (about 1 inch long), giant spiders eating large butterflies, and dozens of tropical birds. As you can expect, our cameras were constantly snapping pictures!
If you can arrange it, I highly recommend staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Iguazu National Park as it is convenient, has great food, and our room had a balcony overlooking the waterfalls. After our soaking in the waterfalls on the boat trip, we went back to our hotel to change into drier clothes and dry off the wet items on the balcony and inside with a hair dryer.
Sadly we had to leave and catch our flight back from the Iguazu Falls airport on LAN airlines to Buenos Aires after two full memorable days and hundreds of photos.