Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls ( kataˈɾatɐz du iɡwaˈsu; kataˈɾataz ðel iɣwaˈsu; ɕoɾoɾo ɨɣʷasu) are waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

s of the Iguazu River
Iguazu River
The Iguazu River is a river in Brazil and Argentina. It is an important tributary of the Paraná River. The Iguazu River is long, with a drainage basin of .-Course:...

 located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná
Paraná (state)
Paraná is one of the states of Brazil, located in the South of the country, bordered on the north by São Paulo state, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Santa Catarina state and the Misiones Province of Argentina, and on the west by Mato Grosso do Sul and the republic of Paraguay,...

 and the Argentine Province of Misiones
Misiones Province
Misiones is one of the 23 provinces of Argentina, located in the northeastern corner of the country in the Mesopotamiсa region. It is surrounded by Paraguay to the northwest, Brazil to the north, east and south, and Corrientes Province of Argentina to the southwest.- History :The province was...

. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River originates near the city of Curitiba
Curitiba is the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná. It is the largest city with the biggest economy of both Paraná and southern Brazil. The population of Curitiba numbers approximately 1.75 million people and the latest GDP figures for the city surpass US$61 billion according to...

. It flows through Brazil for most of its course. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina.

The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guarani
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

 or Tupi words y ɨ, meaning "water", and ûasú waˈsu, meaning "big". Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The first European to find the falls was the Spanish Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer of the New World, one of four survivors of the Narváez expedition...

 in 1541.


Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14.3 mi) upriver from the Iguazu's confluence with the Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

. Numerous islands along the 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) long edge divide the falls into about 275 separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 metres (196.9 ft) and 82 metres (269 ft) high. About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat ( in Spanish or in Portuguese). The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide, and 700-meter-long. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil's Throat.

About 900 meters of the 2.7-kilometer length does not have water flowing over it. The edge of the basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 cap recedes by 3 mm (0.118110236220472 in) per year. The water of the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains in the Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

, a short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguazu River where the borders of all three countries can be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities.

Distribution of the Falls between Argentina and Brazil

Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that seems a reverse J. On the right bank is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the left side jumps are Argentines, which make up almost 80% of the falls. To completely and fully appreciate the falls, the recommendation is to visit both the Argentine and Brazilian side, as one side is a panorama of the other, and vice versa. Those who know have said, more or less, that "from Brazil are the falls, and from Argentina is living" . However, one moves between the jumps on the Argentine side, not only for gateways that allow almost touch the water, but also boat tours that allow you to jump up next to the stunning waterfalls, and even, it can delve to the very Devil's Throat, if one starts by boat from Argentina.


There are two international airports close to Iguazú Falls: the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport
Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport
Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport , also known as Mayor Carlos Eduardo Krause Airport, is an airport in Misiones Province, Argentina serving the city of Puerto Iguazú and providing access to the nearby Iguazú Falls ....

 (IGR) and the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport
Foz do Iguaçu International Airport
Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport , is the airport serving Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. It is named after the Iguazu Falls .It is operated by Infraero.-Airlines and destinations:-Accidents and incidents:...

 (IGU). Argentina's airport is 25 kilometers from the city of Iguazu but closer to the Falls hotels than his Brazilian counterpart, there is bus and taxi service from and to the Airport-Falls. Brazil's airport is between Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and the falls. LAN Airlines
LAN Airlines
LAN Airlines S.A. is an airline based in Santiago, Chile. LAN is currently positioned amongst the largest airlines in Latin America, serving Latin America, United States, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe. It is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance...

 and Aerolíneas Argentinas
Aerolíneas Argentinas
Aerolíneas Argentinas , formally Aerolíneas Argentinas S.A., is Argentina's largest airline and serves as the country's flag carrier. Owned in its majority by the Argentine Government, the airline is headquartered in the Torre Bouchard, located in San Nicolás, Buenos Aires...

 have direct flights from Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 to Iguazu International Airport Krause and several Brazilian airlines as TAM Airlines, GOL
Gol Transportes Aéreos
Gol Transportes Aéreos is a Brazilian airline based in Comandante Lineu Gomes Square, São Paulo City, Brazil....

, Azul
Azul Brazilian Airlines
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S/A is a Brazilian domestic low-cost airline based in Barueri. It was established on 5 May 2008 by Brazilian-born David Neeleman, founder and former-CEO of JetBlue. The airline began service on December 15, 2008 and has ordered a fleet of 76 Embraer 195 jets...

, WebJet
WebJet Linhas Aéreas
WebJet Linhas Aéreas S.A. is a lowcost Brazilian airline, based in Rio de Janeiro. It was owned by CVC, the largest travel company in Brazil, but was acquired in July 2011 by Gol Transportes Aéreos...

 offer service from the main Brazilian cities to Foz do Iguaçu.


The falls can be reached from the two main towns on either side of the falls: Puerto Iguazú
Puerto Iguazú
Puerto Iguazú is a frontier city in the province of Misiones, Argentina. With a population of 82.227 ,it is the fifth largest city in the Province, after Posadas, Oberá, Eldorado and San Vicente....

 in the Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu is the 7th largest city in Paraná state, Brazil, with a population of 255,900 inhabitants. It is located approximately 650 km west of Curitiba, Parana's capital city, being the westernmost city in that state...

 in Brazil, as well as from Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este
Ciudad del Este is the second largest city in Paraguay and capital of Alto Paraná department, located at the Rio Paraná....

, Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 on the other side of the Paraná river from Foz do Iguaçu. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park
Iguazú National Park
The Iguazú National Park is a national park of Argentina, located in the Iguazú Department, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of . -History:...

 (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park
Iguaçu National Park
Iguaçu National Park is a national park in Paraná State, Brazil.Created by federal decree nr. 1035 of January 10, 1939, the Park comprises a total area of 185,262.5 hectares and a length of about 420km, 300km of which are natural borders by bodies of water and the Brazilian and Argentinean sides...

 (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s in 1984 and 1987, respectively.

The Brazilian Iguaçu National Park is spectacular as well as pioneering. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to "future generations", just as "it had been created by God" and endowed with "all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome" and "an unmatched flora" located in the "magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls". These were the words used by Andre Rebouças, an engineer, in his book "Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia", which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçu Falls way back in 1876, when Yellowstone, the first national park on the planet, was four years old.

The Argentinian side has the better and wider views of the falls. On the Brazilian side there is a walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil's Throat and helicopter rides offering aerial views of the falls are available. Argentina has prohibited such helicopter tours because of the environmental impact on the flora and fauna of the falls.. From Foz do Iguaçu airport the park can be reached by taxi or bus to entrance of the park. There is an entrance fee to the park on both sides. Free frequent buses are provided to various points within the park. The town of Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) away and the airport is in between the park and the town.

The Argentine access across the forest is by a Rainforest Ecological Train very similar to the one in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The train brings visitors to the entrance of Devil's Throat as well as the upper and lower trails where one can admire nature at its best, abundant vegetation, colorful flowers mixing with the deep green and the roar of the falls in the distance. The Paseo Garganta del Diablo is a one-kilometer-long trail with magnificent views that brings the visitor directly over the falls of the Devil's Throat, the highest and deepest of the falls. Other walkways allow access to the elongated stretch of falls across the forest on the Argentine side and to the boats that connect to San Martin island.
Also on the Argentinian side there are inflatable boats service that takes visitors right under the falls, providing an extra and intense experience to the vacationer.

The Brazilian transportation system aims at allowing the increase in the number of visitors while reducing the environmental impact through the increase in the average number of passengers per vehicle inside de Park. The new transportation system boasts new 72 passenger panoramic view double deck buses. The upper deck is open, which enables visitors to enjoy added interactivity with the environment and a broad view of the flora and fauna during the trip to the Falls. The buses combustion system is in compliance with the CONAMA (phase IV) and EURO (phase II) emissions and noise requirements. The reduction in the number of vehicles, of noise levels and of speed is enabling tourists to observe increasing numbers of wild animals along the route. Each bus has an exclusive paint scheme, representing some of the most common wild animals found in the Iguaçú National Park. Some of those are: the spotted jaguars, butterflies, raccoons, prego monkeys, coral snakes, toucans, parrots and yellow breasted caimans.

Comparisons to other famous falls

Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara
Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world and has...

!" Iguazu is also often compared with Southern Africa's Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.-Introduction:...

 which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. Iguazu is wider, but because it is split into about 275 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria is the largest curtain of water in the world, at over 1600 m (5,249 ft) wide and over 100 m (328 ft) in height (in low flow Victoria is split into five by islands; in high flow it can be uninterrupted). The only wider falls are extremely large rapid-like falls such as the Boyoma Falls
Boyoma Falls
Boyoma Falls, formerly known as Stanley Falls, consists of seven cataracts, each no more than 15' high, extending over more than along a curve of the Lualaba River between the river port towns of Ubundu and Kisangani/Boyoma in the Orientale region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.At the...


With the flooding of the Guaíra Falls
Guaíra Falls
Guaíra Falls were a series of immense waterfalls on the Paraná River along the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The falls no longer exist, inundated in 1982 by the impoundment of the Itaipu Dam reservoir...

 in 1982, Iguazu currently has the second greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world, after Niagara, with an average rate of 1746 m3/s. Its maximum recorded flow was 12800 m3/s. By comparison, the average flow of Niagara Falls is 2400 m3/s, with a maximum recorded flow of 8300 m3/s. The average flow at Victoria Falls is 1088 m3/s, with a maximum recorded flow of 7100 m3/s.

Mist rises between 30 metres (98 ft) and 150 m (492 ft) from Iguazu's Devil's Throat, and over 300 m (984 ft) above Victoria. However, Iguazu affords better views and walkways and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Devil's Throat, in Argentina, has water pouring into it from three sides. Likewise, because Iguazu is split into many relatively small falls, one can view these a portion at a time. Victoria does not allow this, as it is essentially one waterfall that falls into a canyon and is too immense to appreciate at once (except from the air).

On November 11 of 2011, Iguazu Falls was announced as one of the seven winners of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World
New Seven Wonders of the World
New7Wonders of the World was an initiative started in 2001 by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments. A popularity poll was led by Canadian-Swiss Bernard Weber and organized by the New7Wonders Foundation based in...



Iguazu Falls experiences a tropical rainforest climate (Koppen Af) with abundant precipitation and high temperatures all year-round.

2006 drought

During the summer of 2006 a severe drought caused the Iguazu River to become diminished, reducing the amount of water flowing over the falls to 300 m3/s until early December. This was unusual, as dry periods normally last only a few weeks.

Portrayals in film

The falls have been featured in several movies, including:
  • Moonraker
    Moonraker (film)
    Moonraker is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by Lewis Gilbert, it co-stars Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Corinne Clery, and Richard Kiel...

  • The Mission (1986)
  • Baraka
    Baraka (film)
    Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke. The title Baraka is a word that means blessing in a multitude of languages....

  • O Trem Caipira (1994)
  • Tummy (1995)
  • Happy Together (1997)
  • Mr. Magoo
    Mr. Magoo (film)
    Mr. Magoo is a 1997 live-action comedy film based on the original cartoon of the same name. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and originally released to movie theaters in 1997. It starred Leslie Nielsen as the title character. It was produced by Ben Myron and was the first English...

  • Miami Vice
    Miami Vice (film)
    Miami Vice is a 2006 American crime drama film about two Miami police detectives, Crockett and Tubbs, who go undercover to fight drug trafficking operations. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1980s TV series of the same name, written, produced, and directed by Michael Mann...

  • In the Hands of the Gods
    In the Hands of the Gods
    In the Hands of the Gods is a 2007 documentary. The film follows five English freestyle footballers as they try to raise money by showcasing their skills, in order to fund a trip to Buenos Aires to meet their idol Diego Maradona. Their names are Sami Hall, Danny Robinson, Paul Wood, Jeremy Lynch...

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  • OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (2009)
  • Salve Geral
    Salve Geral
    Salve Geral is a 2009 Brazilian thriller film directed and written by Sérgio Rezende. It depicts the May 2006 riots perpetuated by the Primeiro Comando da Capital criminal organization in the state of São Paulo...

  • Operação X (2011)

External links

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