Iguazu Falls (Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, Iguaçu Falls, or Yguazú Falls)

Puerto Iguazu, Misiones, Argentina
Foz do Iguassu, Parana, Brazil

Rating: 5     Difficulty: 1
Iguazu Falls at the Devil's Throat
Iguazu Falls (or more accurately Iguazú Falls) is the Spanish name (Argentina) for this mammoth waterfall. You might also see it referred to as Iguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls if you favor the portugese name (Brazil). Moreover, you might also see it referred to as Yguazú Falls, which I believe is native Guaraní. In fact, the meaning of the name (originally Guaraní) is said to roughly translate to "big water." The photo you see at the top of this page certainly attests to its grand nature.

But no matter how you spell or say its name, we have to say that it is indeed a crazy waterfall.

How crazy, you might ask?

The immense scale of Iguazu Falls Consider a network of 275 different waterfalls spanning an area 3km wide (2km of which is the upper rim of the waterfall) during its normal flow of around 1000 cubic meters per second. It is such a natural wonder that UNESCO designated the falls as a World Heritage Area in 1986.

Yet as a result of its grandeur, Julie and I were so overwhelmed with the raw human emotion of excitement and wonder during our visit that even the implications of these gaudy numbers seem to be dwarfed. Indeed, it's one of those waterfalls that you just have to experience for yourself!

Sitting on the Iguazú River, it is shared by Argentina and Brazil as both countries are separated by the river. Catwalks are built on both sides providing closer (often times mistier and wetter) views of the great waterfall.

From what we could tell, during normal flow, the Iguazu River consists of two main parts. These components are the Devil's Throat section and what I'm calling the Argentina section.

Looking into the Devil's Throat from the Brazilian side The part of Iguazu Falls with the largest volume of water is the narrow horseshoe of the Devil's Throat (La Garganta del Diablo). This is the portion of the falls that is split between Argentina and Brazil. It is also the most recognizable and powerful section of this world attraction.

The Argentina section is the part containing numerous segmented waterfalls as a result of islands (the largest of which is the San Martin Island, or La Isla San Martín) splitting up the river. And as suggested by the name I made up for this part, all of these islands are on the Argentina side.

Most of these segmented waterfalls and cascades have names. Just to give you an idea of how many named waterfalls make up this Argentina section, we've identified signs pointing out Salto San Martín, Salto Eva, Salto Adán, Salto Bossetti (very impressive), Salto Dos Hermanas, Salto Alvar Nuñez, Salto Guardaparque Bernabé Mendez, Salto Mbigua, Salto Chico, Salto Rivadavía, Salto Escondido, and Salto Lanusse. I'm sure there are others we didn't even mention.

Catwalks giving us the ability to get close to these waterfalls As far as we were concerned, what made this mega waterfall so special was that it felt like it was in Nature where it belonged. Sure the catwalks and jet boat tours (along with Brazilian helicopters) could take away from the Nature, but it was certainly more natural than one of the rival waterfalls like say Niagara Falls.

Still with that being said, there was certainly no shortage of activities to do here besides walking the catwalks and soaking in the overlooks. We engaged in a couple of of these excursions (including a thrilling boat ride), which you can read about here.

Speaking of catwalks, they afforded us various ways to view and experience Iguazu Falls. Argentina had most of the catwalks while Brazil's walks mostly focused on panoramas of the Argentinean side as well as closeups of the thunderous Devil's Throat. We spent a good deal of time walking the main catwalk trails, which were called Paseo Superior (the upper catwalks) and Paseo Inferior (the lower catwalks). We even caught a short train ride that took us to a catwalk to the brink of Devil's Throat (known as El Paseo de La Garganta del Diablo). On the last day of our visit, we had some limited time exploring the catwalks and trails on San Martin Island after taking a short boat ride.

A closeup look at some of the waterfalls on the Argentina side Since we were based on the Argentina side during our three day visit, we gave ourselves enough time to spend at least a half-day visiting the Brazil side. It was here that we got to look across the Iguazu River while also getting a closer and more frontal look at the turbulent and impressive Devil's Throat.

Perhaps, you may have a preference on which side to spend most of your visit or to stay. We did a more in-depth comparison of the Argentina side versus the Brazil side, which you can read about here.

And with all this going on, we even saw some wildlife such as the banded-tailed coaties (they seemed to have become accustomed to being fed or digging for trash), birds like various species of parrot and toucans, and butterflies of many different colors. I understand that there are even predatory cats like the Jaguar as well as the Puma and Ocelot though I'd imagine sightings of these majestic lords of the jungle would be pretty rare.

Throughout the year, Iguazu Falls can be seen in various states depending on its waterflow as well as how the seasons can affect its surroundings. We made an attempt to summarize our findings in this writeup, which can get to by clicking here.

Indeed there are many ways to experience the falls. Heck, if the timing's right, you could even do special tours of the falls by moonlight (something I wish we could've done)! But in any case, what's mentioned on this page merely scratches the surface of how you can spend your time here. Check out the photos below to see more of the mighty Iguazu Falls...

Directions: There are many ways of getting to Iguazu Falls. If you're interested in reading about our accounts of how we managed to get to the falls, you can read about it in this writeup by clicking here.

And at least for foreign visitors like us, we also wrote up a guide detailing the logistics of how we managed to handle some of the less glamorous aspects of enabling a visit to the falls such as Visas, money changing, etc., which you can read about here.




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PHOTO JOURNAL
Iguazu Falls from the Argentina side on paseo superior
Rainbow cutting across the view of some waterfalls in the Argentina side
Waterfalls almost everywhere you look
More waterfalls near the Devil's Throat
Looking right into the turbulence of Devil's Throat
Our first glimpse of the fallsOur first glimpse of the falls

Getting closer to the fallsGetting closer to the falls

View from the end of El Paseo Superior (the upper trail on the Argentina side)View from the end of El Paseo Superior (the upper trail on the Argentina side)

Looking down at the lower catwalk (Paseo Inferior)Looking down at the lower catwalk (Paseo Inferior)

Focused on a trio of thick fallsFocused on a trio of thick falls

Looking over one of the falls towards the jungleLooking over one of the falls towards the jungle

Banded-tail coaties looking to be fedBanded-tail coaties looking to be fed

Salto Alvar NuñezSalto Alvar Nuñez

Looking down at one of the lower Salto Bossetti LookoutsLooking down at one of the lower Salto Bossetti Lookouts

Distant view of the Devil's ThroatDistant view of the Devil's Throat

It can get a little crowded at some of the overlooksIt can get a little crowded at some of the overlooks

A closeup look at Salto BossettiA closeup look at Salto Bossetti

Salto ChicoSalto Chico

Salto Dos HermanasSalto Dos Hermanas

Catwalk leading to the brink of Devil's ThroatCatwalk leading to the brink of Devil's Throat

Looking right across La Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) from the Argentina sideLooking right across La Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) from the Argentina side

Looking right across the river towards the Argentina sideLooking right across the river towards the Argentina side

One of the boat tours dwarfed by the fallsOne of the boat tours dwarfed by the falls

One of the falls tumbling from San Martin Island as seen from Brazilian sideOne of the falls tumbling from San Martin Island as seen from Brazilian side

Looking into the Devil's Throat from a busy overlook on the Brazilian sideLooking into the Devil's Throat from a busy overlook on the Brazilian side

The immense scale of Iguazu FallsThe immense scale of Iguazu Falls

Lots of mist on the catwalksLots of mist on the catwalks

Looking down at a boat about to get drenchedLooking down at a boat about to get drenched

View of the misty mess while on the boat tourView of the misty mess while on the boat tour

Boat getting drenched beneath Salto San MartinBoat getting drenched beneath Salto San Martin

View of Salto Bossetti from the lower overlookView of Salto Bossetti from the lower overlook

Another look from the Paseo SuperiorAnother look from the Paseo Superior. This time in sunnier weather

Palm trees framing Iguazu Falls on the Argentina side from a very popular lookout spotPalm trees framing Iguazu Falls on the Argentina side from a very popular lookout spot

Sun bathers on San Martin IslandSun bathers on San Martin Island

Wall of water as seen from the catwalk on San Martin IslandWall of water as seen from the catwalk on San Martin Island

The gushing Salto San MartinThe gushing Salto San Martin

View from Isla San MartinView from Isla San Martin

Salto EscondidoSalto Escondido

We noticed these big birds near Salto EscondidoWe noticed these big birds near Salto Escondido just before we grudgingly had to leave for home


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS

Sweep of the turbulent Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) as seen from the Argentina side


Sweep of the waterfall starting from the Brazilian side beginning from Isla San Martin and moving towards the Devi's Throat (Garganta del Diablo).


View from the top of the observation tower on the Brazilian side


Sweep of the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls as seen from La Isla San Martin


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MAP OF THE FALLS

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TRIP REPORTS
For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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NEARBY WATERFALLS


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What Other Visitors Have Said

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BrazilMoto (Overlooked World's Widest Waterfall) 
My story or that of Iguaçu Falls ? I'll begin by stating how great your website is and how impressive is the effort to catalog the many waterfalls …

Iguazu Falls in Slow Exposure 
Last January I was at Iguazu Falls on both the Argentine side and the Brazilian side. Annoyingly the falls open at something like 10.00am way too …

The most awesome place I have ever been! 
I visited Iguazu Falls the first time back in 1978. I stayed in a hostel that was just outside the park where international travelers stayed - no electricity …

Awesome Not rated yet
Definitely the most beautiful waterfall in the world. Only thing is that should open from 6am because to view in de morning would be good

Amazing experience! Not rated yet
Visited Iguazu Falls about 3 weeks ago! It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life! It was so beautiful! Pretty fun getting soaked too! …

New 7 Wonders Not rated yet
Vote for Iguazu Falls for the New 7 Wonders! Go to http://www.new7wonders.com to vote! I am doing a project to help make this a Wonder. This website …

Iguazu Falls - Exceeds Expectations  Not rated yet
I visited Iguazu Falls in 2003 and, based upon what I had read and what I had been told, I had high expectations for the falls. That said, after …

Most Amazing Waterfall! Iguazu Falls Not rated yet
I visited Iguazu Falls in February 2010 for two days staying at the Sheraton Hotel in the Park on the Argentina side. Two days was not long enough …

1999 Visit Not rated yet
We visited the falls in 1999 traveling from Sao Paulo to Foz du Iguazu. I can't wait to return since it was beyond amazing!!! Our trip was …

Thank You Not rated yet
This website helped me a lot for a history project. Great videos and pictures. Also with in depth information.

Clueless Tourist - Iguacu Falls Not rated yet
The first time I saw Iquacu Falls was from a small jet in 1985. It was my first trip to South America and shamefully I did not know of the Falls. We …

More Than Worth The Trip Not rated yet
On our way from USA to Antarctica we purposely made a stop at the Iquazu Falls on the advice of a friend - and it was MORE than worth the trip! We live …

The Most Amazing Thing (Iguassu Falls) Not rated yet
I was there when I was 17... and it was the most amazing thing I`ve ever seen in this world!!!! they are really great and deserve to be on the top !!! …

Iguazu Falls - Fee to Cross from Argentina to Brazil Not rated yet
It should be noted that there is a $100 fee to cross from Argentina to Brazil. If you hire a taxi and guide in Puerto Iguacu he might be able to get …

Iguazu Falls Summer 2008 Not rated yet
It is so amazing to see this waterfall. It was only then that i really realized the powers of nature, AND WATER!! I never thought there could be enough …

Retired Medical Missionary Not rated yet
I have been twice to Iguassu and can say without a doubt it is the most beautiful and exciting Falls to visit that I have ever seen. It is easily …

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