That was the first and only word that entered my head as I looked out over the Iguaza falls for the first time. I thought I was prepared for it after seeing Niagara falls, even after the guide told me that Niagara was a third short and only half as wide. If you’ve seen one gigantic waterfall, you’ve seen them all right?
That’s not quite the case, reportedly when Eleanor Roosevelt first saw Iguaza, she exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” and I felt the same. Nothing can really prepare you for the majesty of Iguaza falls. I managed to get my first look from over a 64 metre drop, and while it was absolutely terrifying, it captured a feeling in me nothing has quite met since – as far as natural wonders go, this is one of the most impressive I’ve seen. Iguaza stretches for around one and a half miles, and squats over the border between Argentina and Brazil, with “the devils throat” marking the border between the two countries with a 700 meter long, 150 metre wide U shaped cataract.
Once I’d recovered my composure I walked along the length of the falls, and got a great view from under the falls when my guide took me out in a motorboat and getting out into the middle of the falls was incredible. I did see a few other tourists while I was there, but the national park surrounding the Argentine falls is gigantic so I took my time milling around and enjoying not just the waterfalls but also the lush green surroundings but passed plenty of friendly tourists on the way.
I visited Iguaza falls in the spring, and the best times to see it are at spring and in the autumn, when the weather isn’t too humid, but the water levels are still high. My guide was excellent, he told me about a local legend where a god had planned to marry a beautiful girl against her will. She fled the river in a hand carved canoe, and when the god found out he was so angry he split the river into two, and created all the waterfalls – dooming the couple to an eternal fall. I thought it was an brilliant story, and while I’m something of a cynic when I travel, I found Iguaza falls really got its hooks into me. I finished my tour standing on the Brazilian side of the devils throat, looking over a beautiful panorama.
I spent two days travelling around the falls while staying at a nearby hostel, but if you’re in a rush it can probably be toured lightening fast in a single day. Getting to the area is easy, it’s only a two hour flight from Buenos Aires, and there are many other ways to travel to the area. Out of my entire trip around South America, now I’m back at my desk it’s Iguaza I miss the most.
Mike vanNeirer is keen traveller and sometime blogger. If you’re interested in exploring Iguaza Falls on your adventure holiday to Argentina, contact Audley Travel to speak with an expert in South American tours.