Cataratas do Iguaçu …

The Iguaçu river arises on the inland side of the Brazilian coastal range. Water that falls on the other side of the watershed doesn’t have far to travel to the sea, but the Iguaçu heads west through Paraná State, becomes the border between Brazil and Argentina and after 1,320 km it empties into the Paraná River at the point where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet, the Triple Frontier. The Paraná goes on to collect the Paraguay River and later the Uruguay River forming the Río de la Plata which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Buenos Aires. It is the second longest river system in South America.

Not far from the Triple Frontier the Iguaçu drops with spectacular force over the edge of the Paraná Plateau.

The edge of the falls is 2.7 km long and the flow is interrupted by islands. The most spectacular point is the Devil’s Throat (since I am standing on the Brazilian side, the Garganta do Diabo).This is a long and narrow chasm 82 meters high, 150 m wide, and 700 m long. It collects about half of the river’s flow.

The area surrounding the falls is protected by national park on both the Brazilian and Argentine side. There is a gorgeous old hotel on the Brazilian side …

Turning right about 120 degrees gives a view of the falls …

Walkways from the hotel take you down hill slowly to the foot of the falls. An elevator! will take you up to a car park to catch a bus back if you want. For those with more vigour it’s not that arduous a walk back.

The forest around the falls is rich in wildlife. We encountered Coatis, Black Capuchin monkeys and Azara’s Agouti. Don’t feed the wildlife – remember Brazil does have rabies although Amazon bats and urban dogs are the main vectors. The bird list grew rapidly and included Red-rumped Cacique, Surucua Trogon, Toco Toucan, Plush-crested Jay and Chestnut-eared Aracari just to mention the more spectacular. And the butterflies were doing their best to rival the birds.

Great Dusky Swifts congregate in immense numbers above the falls and roost behind the curtains of water.

 

There is no one spot that permits a view of all the falls. The experience has to be put together in increments. To see the falls from one side only would be to sell yourself short, so tomorrow it’s off to Argentina.

 

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