Cataratas do Iguaçu

Cataratas do Iguaçu is a colossal cluster of 275 waterfalls located between the state of Paraná, Brazil and Miniones, Argentina. It has been considered one of the seven wonders of nature and a world heritage site.

The city of Foz do Iguaçu, where the falls are located, is also home of the Itaipu power plant — the largest clean, renewable energy generator in the world and seventh largest artificial lake in Brazil. It is also one of the Wonders of the Modern World according to the American Society of Engineers.

The name “Iguaçu” derives from Guarani words (the language of the native people from that region). In Guarani, “Y” means water and “guasu” means huge — “huge waters” is the most peculiar yet accurate way to describe Cataratas do Iguaçu.

It is hard to describe how small you feel next to something of such magnitude — it works as a reminder that we, the human beings, are only guests in this planet for there was life on Earth long before we had arrived. It is almost like a religious experience.

The landscape is so absolutely stunning that the former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, went to see the Cataratas do Iguaçu in a visit to Brazil, and when she saw the waterfalls, she allegedly said: “Poor Niagara”

Most of the falls in the cluster are named after historical Brazilian figures such as Floriano, Deodoro, Benjamim Constant. The main waterfall, on the other hand, is called Garganta do Diado — Devil’s throat. It is the largest and higher fall among the 275, and it stands right between Brazil and Argentina.

Photo by Carolina Coutinho

There are, of course, guided tours so people can walk safely near the waterfalls and learn about their history. You can even go on a boat ride, practice rafting or rappelling, if you are not too afraid to do so (as I was).

Cataratas do Iguaçu is located in the largest preserved area of the Atlantic Rainforest, so you will have the unique opportunity to see some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the planet such as onça-pintada, puma, jacaré-de-papo-amarelo, papagaio-de-peito-roxo, gavião-real and others.

Geologists estimate that cataratas was formed more than 100 million years ago and being there you can feel a connection to a world that no longer exists.

If you are an enthusiast of outdoor adventures, nature, or traveling, you absolutely cannot miss the chance to see Cataratas do Iguaçu — one of the most wonderful, remote and untouched places in the world. It will give you a whole new perspective of the world.

Finally, since you are in Foz do Iguaçu, you might as well visit Parque das Aves — an open air aviary that holds some of the most beautiful and exotic birds in the world. If you enjoy seeing animals and especially if you are a birdwatcher, Parque das Aves will be an unforgettable experience.

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