Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones (Misiones is one of the 23 provinces of Argentina) and the Brazilian state of Parana (Parana is one of the 26 states of Brazil). The Iguazu River is a river in Brazil and Argentina. It is an important tributary of the Parana River. Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfalls system in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the city of Curitiba; 1,320 km (820 mi) long with a drainage basin of 62,000 square km (24,000 sq mi). The river flows through Brazil but approximately 80% of the falls are located in Argentina. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil, making it a significant part of the political and geographical structure of the continent of South America.
The name Iguazu comes from the Tupi or Guarani language which means “Water”, and uasu meaning “Big”; means “Big Water”. The Iguazu River flows into the Parana River. It is 1,500 meters wide (0.9 miles), and runs through islands and islets. After crossing 1,200 km. on a plateau where it receives several affluents, it reaches a fault forming a crack in the interleaved layers of sandstone and basalt where the river runs and finally falls from a lava cliff formed 120 million of years ago.
The Iguazu Falls are located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Parana Plateau, 23 km (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu’s confluence with the Parana River. Numerous islands edge divides the falls into many separate waterfalls, varying between 60 m and 82 m (197 and 269 ft) high. About half of the river’s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil’s Throat. The falls resemble an elongated horseshoe that extends for 1.7 miles (2.7 km)—nearly three times wider than Niagara Falls in North America and significantly greater than the width of Victoria Falls in Africa. It is one of the world’s largest and most incredible waterfalls in the world, with more than 270 falls.
The rate of flow of the falls may rise to a maximum of 450,000 cubic feet (12,750 cubic metres) per second during the rainy season from November to March. Minimum flow occurs during the dry season from August to October. The mean annual rate of flow is about 62,000 cubic feet (1,756 cubic metres) per second.
While the ancient Brazilian tribes knew of its thunderous beauty, it was only officially ‘discovered’ in 1541, when the European explorer, the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, came across its awe-inspiring beauty. In 1897 Edmundo de Barros, a Brazilian army officer envisaged the establishment of a national park at Iguazu Falls. Following boundary rectifications between Brazil and Argentina, two separate national parks were established, one by each country— Iguazu National Park (1934) in Argentina and Iguacu National Park (1939) in Brazil. Both the parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Both the national parks are one of the most incredible places you can visit in South America.
The Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that resembles a reversed letter “J”. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Some points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu-Brazil, Puerto Iguazu-Argentina, and Ciudad del Este-Paraguay, have access to the Iguazu River, where the borders of all three nations may be seen and all these three cities is a popular tourist attraction. Two international airports are close to Iguazu Falls: the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport (IGR) and the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). Bus and taxi services are available from and to the Airport to Iguazu Falls. Aerolíneas Argentinas and LATAM Argentina have direct flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu International Airport Krause. Azul, GOL, and LATAM Brasil offer services from main Brazilian cities to Foz do Iguacu. The town of Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 km (12 mi) away, and the airport is between the national park and the town.
The distance from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls is 1,179 km (733 miles). On the Brazilian side, a walkway along the canyon has an extension to the lower base of Devil’s Throat. Helicopter rides offering aerial views of the falls have been available from Brazil, but Argentina has prohibited such helicopter tours because of the adverse environmental impact on the flora and fauna of the falls. Every year lots of tourists are coming. Iguazu Falls are one of the best tourist spots in South America. This place is like heaven and the scene of waterfalls will definitely mesmerize you. This is truly a natural wonder of mother earth.