Iguazu National Park

Iguazu National Park is located in Argentina along the Iguazu River which creates a natural border between the country and Brazil. The national park encompasses an area of 261 square miles (677 sq km) and is a sister protected area on the Brazilian side known as Iguacu National Park.

The majority of the falls, approximately 80%, occur within Iguazu National Park. The majority of descriptions of the fall indicate there are 275 distinct separate drops, however some believe there are some that are continuations of a drop and lessen the number to around 85 different drops.

Iguazu Falls stretches across a distance of 1.7 miles (2.7 km) with the highest drop occurring at Devil’s Throat that reaches a height of 269 feet (82 m). The Iguazu drops vary from 197 feet (60 m) to the 269 feet (82 m) drop at the canyon head where it is affectionately known as Devil’s Throat.

The multi-drop and tiered waterfall complex is characterized by a staircase rock formation created by layers of basalt. The staircase sizes vary from 115 to 131 feet (35-40 m) in height. Iguazu Falls has an average flow rate of 62,010 cubic feet per second (1,756 m3/s).

Iguazu National Park and the Iguazu Falls region features a spectacular family of wildlife that unfortunately often rarely seen. Predator species include the jaguar, jaguarundi, and ocelot. Some intriguing endangered species include the giant otter and the giant anteater.

Toucan can be seen more easily on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls; however it takes some effort and patience because sightings are more common during the early morning hours just prior to sunrise. Sightings are still possible, but this timeframe offers the greatest probability.

The coati is similar looking to a raccoon type of creature. The good news is that this are fairly tame and are often experienced along the trails of the lower or upper falls trails. Butterflies are numerous near the location where the train ends on the way to Devil’s Throat.

Highlights

  • Iguazu Falls
  • Devil’s Throat lookout
  • Lower and Upper Falls trails
  • Toucans
  • Moonbows


Iguazu Falls is the highlight attraction of Iguazu National Park. Since the majority of the falls occur on the Argentine side, there are more trails and varied views of the falls. The best way to experience the falls is taking the various trails that provide postcard views of the falls. 

Each month during a 5-day window where there is a full-moon, visitors are allowed to purchase a train trip up at night to see Devil’s Throat under the light of the moon. It is possible to see moonbows, which are rainbows created by the mist of the falls and the light of the moon.

Trails in Iguazu National Park

Lower Falls Trail: The Lower Circuit travels a distance of about 1 mile (1.6 km) with an anticipated 1.5-hour time of exploring the falls. Trail will bring people to the base of the Bosetti Waterfall. This trail also gives access to boat rides over to San Martin Island. Picturesque postcard views.

Upper Falls Trail: The Upper Circuit is distinguished by trails sitting on top of the falls and looking out over the waterfall edges. The first lookout occurs at Mbigua Waterfall. Then the trail crosses the river to lookout over San Martin Waterfall which is the second largest of the falls. The upper trail travels a distance of about 1 mile feet (1.6 km) and is a casual 2 hour excursion. Picturesque postcard views.

Devil’s Throat Trail: Devil’s Throat trail starts with a train ride from the park entrance area up above the falls. Once the train arrives visitors will take a variegated iron walkway across the top of the river to a lookout station that provides views directly over Devil’s Throat and down into the canyon. The iron walkway travels a distance of 3,608 feet (1,100 m). Estimated time of the outing is about 2 hours.

Macuco Trail: The trail travels a distance of 4.34 miles (6.98 km). The trail starts off fairly easily for most of the way, but it gets more challenging toward the end. The trail delivers hikers to the Arrechea Stream falls which has a height of 65.6 feet (20 m). The trail ends looking out over the canyon before returning back to the base. It takes most of the day to explore.

Green Trail: This is a simple alternative route to the Train. It travels a distance of 2,148 feet (655 m). It is a walk through the rainforest which provides casual visitors with a chance to see birds, coati, and monkeys.

Sources:

Britannica, Iguazu National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Iguazu-National-Park, retrieved September 2019.

Brazil.org, Iguazu Falls, https://www.brazil.org.za/iguazu-falls.html, retrieved September 2019.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina Side, https://iguazufalls.com/national-park/, retrieved September 2019.

IUCN World Heritage Outlook, Iguazu National Park, https://www.worldheritageoutlook.iucn.org/explore-sites/wdpaid/10901, retrieved September 2019.

Lonely Planet, Iguazu Falls, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/iguazu-falls, retrieved September 2019.

Travel Triangle, Iguazu National Park, https://traveltriangle.com/blog/iguazu-national-park/, retrieved September 2019.

UNESCO, Iguazu National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/303/, retrieved September 2019.