Where Brazil doesn’t sound the samba
At the Iguazu Falls you can only hear the crashing of its 275 colossal waterfalls, falling from a height of over 80 metres.
Poor Niagara!” exclaimed Eleanor Roosevelt the first time she saw the Iguazu Falls. She was right. With almost three kilometres of vertical waterfalls, they are larger than the Niagara Falls. Iguazu is one of the largest National Parks in South America, with 180,000 hectares incredibly rich in tropical flora and fauna. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1986.
The views from the air are unbeatable. An enormous mass of water surrounded by wild vegetation crashes down onto the Iguazu River, as if it were in a hurry to reach the bottom. From a helicopter you can admire the spectacular toucans and other tropical birds in the National Park. If just seeing it isn’t enough, there are also many activities you can take part in to really experience it.
Put on a cagoule: you’re going to get wet for sure
Photo: Dmitry V. Petrenko / Shutterstock.com
Abseiling down the waterfalls is known as ‘cascading’. This is an activity somewhere between an aquatic sport and climbing and is only for intrepid souls. It can be combined with a boat trip along the river.
Foz do Iguaçu, which means “big water”, is the closest Brazilian city to the Iguazu Falls. Here there are several companies specialising in activities for adrenaline seekers. For example, there are rafting descents battling against the savage waters in inflatable boats for six or seven passengers accompanied by an experienced rafter and an escort boat. This, however, is not a peaceful ride along the river. The plan is to descend at full speed through two kilometres of rapids. However, don’t worry if you can’t stop to admire the views; after the rapids there are another two kilometres of calm waters where you can dive out of your boat and swim. The journey is completed by a stretch on land, or in the jungle we should say. To return to the boarding point you must enter the tropical forest and discover its wild nature.
Such an adventurous day can be rounded off by watching how the water turns into vapour and admiring the rainbow that crowns the falls. You can do this from any of its viewpoints. They say that the best are on the Brazilian side. In nature’s performance as played out in the falls, the stage is on the Argentinian side and the stalls are on the Brazilian side. Two thirds belong to Iguazu National Park in Argentina and just one third belongs to Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. Whichever side you’re on, you have to see the Devil’s Throat, which is right on the border between the two countries.
These vessels will take you close to the foot of the falls
The Union Waterfall falls onto this from a height of 80 metres, making it the fastest flowing of the 275 waterfalls. It is here that you can really hear Brazil’s other rhythm.
The Devil’s Throat from above
Photo: T photography / Shutterstock.com