Visiting Iguaçu Falls, Cataratas do Iguaçu
The Devil’s Throat seen from a helicopter. Photo by Jim.
These falls are arguably the world’s biggest (certainly in width but not in height) and the area is a thundering charmer – lush, loud and lovely – though a long way to travel if that’s the only south Brazil sight you’re going to see.
The world’s top three waterfalls are Iguaçu, Niagara (USA and Canada) and Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe).
The falls consists of around 270 individual waterfalls and cascades. Walkways are an easy way to get close and the rainforest environment complements the magnificent ambience perfectly.
Jim just about as close as you can get to the falls without swimming.
The falls seen from close. Photo by Chensiyuan.
The two most obvious things to do are take a walk beside the falls from various viewpoints as well as a wet boat ride up the Devil’s Throatto get a fish-eye view of the power of the falling water.
In addition tourists can easily cross over into Argentina or Paraguay for short visits. Paraguay is hardly of interest offering little more than a seedy, tax-free market and bars, but Argentina has five excellent marked walking trails ranging from a short viewpoint visit to a 7km hike to the base of the falls with swimming a possibility. Another terrific Argentine option is a free train ride up to the start of a 1km wooden catwalk over the river.
Border crossings between the three countries is generally quite casual. Although the Argentinian side offers more to do the view from the Brazilian side is better.
There may be queues on either side of the border, depending on the time of the day and holidays so check with someone like your hotel receptionist and get there early.
Other things to do here include abseiling and white water rafting but little else.