Iguacu National Park
Iguacu National Park is located on the border of Argentina and Brazil and serves as the protected area for Iguassu Falls on the Brazil side of the falls. The national park encompasses an area of 660 square miles (1,700 sq km).
The trail along the canyon and falls, lookouts, and immediate rainforest along Iguassu Falls account for less than 1% of the Iguacu National Park protected area. This is the only area explored by visitors to Iguassu Falls.
Iguassu Falls is protected on the Argentina side by Iguazu National Park and collectively serves as the world’s largest waterfall system. There are 275 separate drops throughout the 1.7 miles (2.7 km) of falls.
The tallest point of the falls occurs at Devil’s Throat which stands at 269 feet (82 m) and is also the head of the shared border canyon. The falls range from the height at Devil’s Throat down to the shortest falls at 197 feet (60 m).
Iguacu National Park and the Iguassu Falls area are home to the giant otter and the giant anteater which are both endangered. Some of the other hoped-for wildlife sightings include jaguar, jaguarundi, ocelot, tapir, and toucans. Most visitors are fortunate to see the coati and an abundance of butterflies.
From the Brazilian side only, visitors can leverage a helicopter tour for one of the most stunning views of the falls from an aerial point of view. Additionally, there is a rappelling rope that drops straight down from an extended medal platform. This allows you to hang in the air and have a face to face view across the canyon toward the Argentina side of the falls.
The simplest way to experience the falls is to take the pathed trail along the canyon wall on the Brazilian side providing comprehensive views of the falls which occur on the Argentine side. There are lookouts along the way as well as a metal walkway out across the river that delivers up close and wet views of the falls.
Iguassu Falls is without question the highlight of Iguacu National Park. The national park offers a variety of exciting ways of seeing and experiencing the falls with some activities increasing the sense of adventure.
Iguassu Falls is a series of individual waterfalls that work together to create the largest waterfall complex in the world. There are a total of 275 separate drops throughout the 1.7 miles (2.7 km) of falls. The majority of the falls occur over on the Argentina side whereas the most panoramic view occurs from the Brazilian side.
The highest point of Iguassu Falls occurs along the border at the end of of the canyon which is called Devil's Throat. At this point, the falls reach a height of 269 feet (82 m). The Brazillian side only accounts for about 20% of the entire Iguassu Falls system.
Iguassu Falls is the internationally recognized name for the falls, however, the Spanish Iguazu Falls is more commonly used and searched. This is also the name of the falls on the Argentina side.
Things To Do:
Where the Argentina side has the majority of trails around Iguassu Falls, the Brazilian side has the most activities. Some activities are provided to get you outdoors to enjoy the habitat and others are to give you new and different perspectives of Iguassu Falls.
One of the best ways to truly appreciate the magnitude of Iguassu Falls is to receive an aerial view from the comforts of a helicopter. This birdseye view will leave you mesmerized by the impressive size of the falls.
Rappelling off a perfectly good platform is exhilarating enough for most people. However, when you add a view of Iguassu Falls on the way down, it can't get any better.
Kayaking on the river above Iguassu Falls is a wonderful way to discover the astounding size of the river that becomes the waterfall further downstream. It also lets you see more of the rainforest.
For the most part, biking is an activity that you get to enjoy as you engage in some of the other activities. Biking through the forest is enchanting and exercise. It is a great way to experience the forest surround Iguassu Falls.
Iguacu National Park Trails
The majorit of hiking around Iguacu Falls occurs on the Argentina side, however, the hiking on the Brazilian side provides the most comprehensive views of the different parts of the waterfall system.
Iguassu Falls Trail
The trailhead starts across the street from the Hotel das Cataratas. It is an easy paved trail with various changes in elevation that are accomplished by stairs or slight slopes. The trail is taken leisurely along the canyon of Iguassu Falls. The trail covers a distance of 2 miles (3.22 km) with an elevation change of 347 feet (106 m).
The trail is a point-to-point hike allowing visitors to capture a second look at the falls as they return. The majority of the falls occur on the Argentine side, however, the Brazilian has the most comprehensive views.
Iguacu National Park protects the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls. This is the world's largest waterfall complex and Brazil and Argentina governments collaborate together to protect both sides of the falls. Both are also protecting the surrounding pristine tropical rainforest which is home to species like the jaguar, the toucan, and many others.
- Iguassu Falls
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- UNESCO, Iguacu National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/355/, retrieved September 2019.
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