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  • Writer's pictureRita Cardoso

Brazil - Iguazu Falls, Foz do Iguaçu

How to describe one of the Nature wonders that is most talked about and visited in the World? Words may not be enough, but I'll try.



The Iguazu Falls are a system of the Paraná River (8th largest in the world), which can go from approximately 160 to 275 waterfalls, depending on the flow with which it reaches the waterfall zone. The amount of water you can see dropping, the sound of the strong waterfalls, the colors of the surrounding nature and the water hitting your face, makes this experience a visceral and unforgettable experience. Just saying it's beautiful and wonderful is not enough. There are almost 3 km of waterfalls surrounded by tropical forest, in a National Park that is divided between Brazil and Argentina. A curious fact is that the Iguazu Falls are not in the same place where they were located two hundred thousand years ago when they were formed. Due to erosion, they retreated from the place that is now known as “The Three Borders” to the place where they are today, 23 km away!



Of all of them, there is one that is considered the most imposing, the Garganta do Diabo, or Devil's Throat, a powerful waterfall of 80 meters, with a flow of 1500 cubic meters of water per second! It is at this point that there is a walkway that takes us very close to the water and we begin to feel it, which on hot days provides a much-needed coolness.




National Park Iguazu Falls – Brazil


On the Brazilian side, there is a single trail with about 1500 linear meters. It's not difficult, but it's up and down and on hot days with some humidity, some areas become torture. (Note: Maybe you don't want to choose to go in the afternoon and in the middle of summer vacation in Brazil like me and maybe it would be more pleasant. Friendly advice!) To have access to the park, it is best to buy the ticket online at least one day in advance and choose a very early time slot (the first time slot is at 8:00 am). You can buy tickets on site, but you can also buy them using electronic kiosks (called self-service). When you buy the ticket, you are placed in groups according to the chosen schedule, first schedule, group 1, second schedule, group 2 and so on. So if you bought a ticket for a later time slot, but arrived earlier, you won't be able to get in. Although, there is a rescheduling kiosk, but it will depend on availability on the day. If you arrive earlier and cannot reschedule, there is an outdoor area with tables and chairs where you can eat, either food brought from home or purchased at one of the kiosks/restaurants. In this area there is also access to free WiFi.


The Park - organization and map


When the time comes for us to enter, we go to a queue, where they check that we are on time, and we are directed to several buses that take us to 3 possible stops along 14km:

1st - Macuco Safari - the stop for those going on the boat trip next to the falls. Or take a long bath too, we saw these tours from the top of the trail and they pass with the whole boat under a waterfall. It didn't sound like much fun to me, but it's up to you. 😂 2nd - Parada das Cataratas - Start of the 1500 m trail. This trail always follows the extension of the Iguazu Falls, with several locations and viewpoints to take some beautiful pictures and contemplate (if you don't have thousands of people in front of you and behind you looking for a little spot too). Along the way there are some refreshments, with kiosks selling drinks and snacks, toilets and free WiFi at these points. 3° - Porto Canoas - End of the trail. At this point, we are in Garganta do Diabo, or Devil's Throat. Here there is an elevator that gives direct access to the end of the trail and walkway that leads to the area closest to the falls. There are also all kinds of tourist offers, small shops, kiosks, restaurants, bathrooms, selling overly expensive professional photos in front of the falls, etc. If you want to spend money, this is it! 😅 Here, again, another queue forms, but this is on a first-come, first-served basis to catch a bus back to the entrance/exit of the park. The duration of the visit is not limited, as long as you leave before closing time, of course. From queuing up for our group entrance to leaving the park, it took us 3h30, with an hour spent in queues.



Legend of the Falls


"The Iguazu National Park safeguards the history of nature conservation in Brazil and the memories of the past occupation of the region. It bears witness to facts, legends and structures that are references to the transformation of the landscape, such as archaeological sites, indigenous culture, the legend of the Falls, the old villages, roads and the São João power plant. It is said that the Indians living on the banks of the Iguazu River believed that the world was governed by M'Boy, a god who had the form of a serpent and was the son of Tupã. Igobi, the chief of that tribe, had a daughter named Naipi, who was so beautiful that the waters of the river stopped when the young woman looked at them. Due to her beauty, Naipi was consecrated to the god M'Boy, living only for his cult. There was, however, among the Indians, a young warrior named Tarobá who, when he saw Naipi, fell in love with her. On the day of the feast for the consecration of the beautiful Indian woman, while the chief and the pajé were drinking cauim (a drink made from fermented corn) and the warriors were dancing, Tarobá took advantage and fled with the beautiful Naipi in a canoe down the river, dragged by the current. When M'Boy noticed Naipi and Tarobá's escape, he was furious. It then penetrated the bowels of the Earth and, twisting its body, produced an enormous crack, where the gigantic cataract was formed. Enveloped by the waters, the canoe and the fugitives fell from a great height, disappearing forever. Legend has it that Naipi was transformed into one of the central rocks of the falls, perpetually buffeted by the turbulent waters. Tarobá was converted into a palm tree located on the edge of an abyss, leaning over the river gorge. Underneath that palm tree is the entrance to a cave under the Devil's Throat where the vengeful monster eternally watches over the two victims."



Recommendations:

  • Check the weather before you go and bring comfortable clothing suitable for the weather.

  • Try to go at times of lesser flow of people to enjoy it calmly, first hours of the morning or last of all.

  • Go prepared with comfortable shoes to do the trail.

  • There are places of protected landscape, bring your rubbish and anything else you can find.

  • Take food and water if you want to save money, as products are always a little more expensive inside the park.

  • Always take an extra piece of waterproof clothing, because if it's cloudy and there are some clouds you can get cold if your clothes are damp (on the other hand, I didn't need the raincoat as it was so hot that the water felt so cool. However, I used the waterproof cover from my backpack and luckily it got soaked.)


Click here to see my list of suggested places to visit in Foz do Iguaçu.

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