Sally Watson

Surreally magnetic – these words best describe Iguazú Falls. Here, it’s evident I’ve found myself in one of the world’s most sacred spaces, a place on the map to truly revere. Iguazú is so unrealistically breathtaking; it is easy to feel as if you’ve been transported into a movie where the set is one of nature’s most epic achievements.

iguazu falls

Great dusty swifts, the inhabitant birds, dip in the hundreds with seemingly adept choreography through foliage and rock caves, rainbows and water spray. There’s a meditative sound to the thunderous pounding emanating from the hundreds of falls, which make up Iguazú. Breezing over from a nearby water torrent, my hot humid torso is welcomingly relieved by a light cooling mist. Butterflies, en masse, glide by and toucans are in the sky.

I find myself checking the jungle undergrowth for fairies - because since my childhood this is the type of enchanting fantasy place I have always imagined they would reside. Instead, a coati greets me as I take the walkway to the main act, the top of Devil’s Throat, the largest of Iguazú’s deluges. Looks can be deceiving and these animals can be vicious, as some of the park’s signs point out.

iguazu falls wildlife

Staring hypnotically at the repetitive surge, I feel I’ve been green-screened, super-imposed on this incredulous landscape. As if I’ve just been dropped into a film set, in the character of GI Jane, ready for a jungle adventure in a world, which even creative animators might have a hard time conjuring up.

Iguazú National Park

There couldn’t have been a more awe-inspiring welcome to Iguazú National Park. Along the entrance road, our van’s reception was a brigade of majestic, vibrant yellow, graceful butterflies floating by, as if we were walking through confetti at a wedding. Situated on the border between Argentina and Brazil, this UNESCO world heritage site is considered one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’ and one of South America’s must-sees. After my visit, I can certainly understand why. It’s a place where you’ll walk away reminded of nature’s power, its sublime beauty and its effect on the senses. An exhilarating confirmation of her mighty strength comes as her crashing thuds of downpour batter my head as my tour boat skids underneath the falls. Iguazú is mesmerising, deafening and wet. 

waterfall

One of the largest waterfalls in the world, Iguazú is up there with - Niagara on the Canadian/American border, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe Africa and Angel Falls in Venezuela. But it is not the height, which makes Iguazú famous but the breath and the number of falls (up to around three hundred depending on the water flow) which comprise this astonishing masterpiece of nature.
Iguazú falls

Unlike the more commercial Niagara, Iguazú is set in what can only be described as a natural paradise. Surrounded by lush jungle, abuzz with wildlife, you’ll have the chance to see some of the park’s 450 species of birds, and other inhabitants such as monkeys, squirrels, foxes, raccoons and perhaps less likely, jaguars. I’m pretty sure you’ll see butterflies!

As you may be aware, there are two sides of the falls. Iguaçu National Park in Brazil is where you can take a short walk to a platform, which extends euphorically into the base of Devil’s throat. The Argentinian side, Iguazú National Park is where you will witness all Iguazú’s glory from its main precipice, to a number of smaller falls. Here you can also catch the boat that takes you under the falls, and ride the Rainforest Ecological Train, delivering you to the park’s highlights and walking trails.

iguazu falls

There are a variety of walks to give you different viewpoints. If you are looking for a bio-diverse experience, take the Macuco Trail or the Green Trail, a half hour walk through the rainforest. The Lower Circuit enables you to see some of the smaller falls and takes you along the Iguazú River leading to Devil’s Throat. Some of the best panoramic views of the park and falls can be gained at the Upper Circuit. No matter what track you take, or viewpoint you encounter, you will surely feel like you’re a star in one of nature’s most profound performances.

iguazu falls

Tips

  • Indulge in a helicopter ride over the falls to get an epic overview of the surrounding landscape and Iguazú’s sheer magnitude (departures from the Brazil side only) – YOLO!
  • Allow yourself AT LEAST two full days if you want to see both sides.
  • For limited time and budgets, make the Argentina side a priority.
  • Check details with your travel agent and travel doctor about Brazil, as you may need a visa and a Yellow Fever vaccination.
  • Arrive at the Argentinian Iguazú National Park as early as possible to catch one of the first trains to the top of Devil’s Throat - the viewing platform gets crowded quickly.
  • ID or passport is required to buy entrance tickets.
  • Take your bathers if you intend on taking a boat - you will get soaked!
  • Wrap your valuables, cameras, phones and passports in plastic to protect them from water spray.
  • Take time to enjoy the wildlife and don’t forget to look out for fairies!

 

Sally Watson is a freelance travel writer and photographer at Wing Woman Adventures. A self-confessed vagabond and seeker of new frontiers, adventures and international friends, she aims to inspire people to travel widely, independently and confidently! Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.