Iguazu Falls

The natural equilibrium of Iguazu Falls

The Iguazu Falls between Argentina and Brazil are named after the Iguazu River, which in the Guaraní language, the native population, is referred to as “agua grande”  for the width of the water course of about 1.500 meters, and it is the product of a geological fault of 120 million years ago, whose shape is constantly changing thanks to the erosive action of water. I flew thousands of km to enter in one of the most authentic and mysterious places that the Earth still has, a tropical forest, with its trees so intertwined that they prevent you from seeing the sky, the smell of wet earth and that concert of sounds that it stops if you make a sharp movement and the noise of the water that overpowers your every word.

The waterfalls are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, within two national parks recognized by UNESCO as a Natural Heritage of Humanity, which provide for the preservation of the Atlantic forest with its variety of flora and fauna, including the 450 species of birds and the puma and the jaguar that are endangered. According to what I read at the Visitor Center, the number of waterfalls on the entire surface varies between 150 and 270 depending on the dry or rainy seasons, and they fall from heights of up to 2.700 meters.

Isla de San Martín

If you are planning to spend two days visiting the falls, my suggestion is to give priority to the visit from the Argentinean side, which allows a closer discovery of this stretch of the Panamanian forest, while the Brazilian side is the one recommended for the panoramic view. Planning the trip giving preference in the morning to those of the lower circuit, where you can add to the entrance ticket some extra activities such as visiting the Isla de San Martín, to do rafting and to do the water baptism on a motor boat. In the afternoon, take the Tren Ecológico de la Selva in order to be in the sunset at Garganta del Diablo and enjoy the highest part of the route with the most evocative view of the park.

One of the reflections that comes across the park is that it looks like an open-air museum: explanatory signs enrich the value of the walk with details on the history, biodiversity and curiosity about the area, becoming a source of entertainment for both adults and children. Another feature that surprise me is the ease of access to most areas, limiting the metal walkways and the asphalt instead very present on the Brazilian side, and allowing you to experience this unforgettable experience even for people with reduced mobility.

To see that this system has survived for hundreds of years, with the competition and cooperation of plants and animals to preserve its fragile and slow equilibrium, makes us feel responsible for preserving the mystery of the tropical forest to ensure its enjoyment for present and future generations.

In any case, before visiting the Iguazu Falls, consult the temperatures for proper clothing, bring a high-protection sunscreen, a water bottle (there are fountains along all the paths), an anti-mosquito spray; all these products are present in the shop inside the park, but the prices are really very high. Beware of animals, even coatis that look so cute, not being domestic can scratch or bite if you try to touch them or give them food.

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