iguazu falls

Nothing can prepare you for Iguazu Falls. No coffee table picture books or sweeping movie panoramas could come close. The scale is just too vast. This is the widest water fall in the world stretching across 2.7km and it demands your attention. No, that’s not right. It doesn’t demand it, there’s no need, you just give it, without a moment’s thought. Consequently visitors fall into a wide-eyed, jaw-dropped stupor as they shuffle around the trails and platforms in collective awe.

 

The falls straddle the border between Brazil and Argentina and are themselves very near the tri-border area with Paraguay (although the latter misses out on the action of the falls). This photo was taken in Argentina at the back-end of winter.

 

A hot debate rages on as to which country can boast the best view. We visited both sides, spending a day at each. Although 80% of the falls are in Argentina, Brazil can rightly claim to have the widest panorama of them but it comes at the cost of distance. To compensate, it offers a terrifying view down the fantastically named Devil’s Throat, a roaring cul-de-sac of white water curtains where the two countries have a mighty face-off. Argentina, on the other hand, allows visitors to get more up close and personal with individual falls. The walking tracks are more extensive here and offer greater surprise as you round corner after corner to be met with yet more unbelievable views. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but personally, if you’ve made it this far (the falls are a long way from any major city), it’d be churlish to pick sides. Visit both. I can’t stress that enough.

 

We arrived at Iguazu Falls from Brazil and used the border town of Foz do Iguazu as a base. Business generated by nearby Itaipu dam (one of the largest in the world and worth a visit if time permits) have brought some prosperity to ‘Foz’ and it offers a decent range of accommodation options. Anyone looking for a more ‘wild-west’ frontier experience should check out Cuidad del Este, a stone’s throw away in Paraguay.

 

The Argentinian side is easily visited on a day trip from Brazil but hiring a guide may aid smoother passage through immigration, allowing more time at the falls.