Iguazu Falls (‘Big Water’), on the border of Argentina and Brazil, is considered by many to be the most spectacular waterfall in the world. Sprawling over a wide length of the Iguazu River, it actually consists of approximately 275 separate falls, the main site being at a location known as the Devil’s Throat. The site of the falls is split between Iguazu National Park in Argentina and Iguacu National Park in Brazil, both of which are part of the Iguazu National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first European to see the Iguazu Falls was Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca who explored the area in 1541. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century, and was considered (on the Brazil site) for national park status as early as the early 1870s. Many films have used Iguazu Falls as a shooting location, most notably in 2008, when it was the setting of a great lost civilization in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.
The Iguazu Falls is actually a sizeable collection of falls fed by the Iguazu River near where it feeds into the Parana River. At best count there are 275 regular drops ranging from 197 feet to 269 feet in height. The number of drops fluctuates depending on the volume of flow over the falls. The focal point of the site is the section known as the Devil’s Throat, over which half of the total water volume flows.
Iguazu Falls is accessible from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, which account for 80% and 20% of the falls, respectively. Both national parks offer transportation to various points along the falls, with a particularly popular train on the Argentina side. The parks are home to considerable wildlife, including jaguars and monkeys. Web: www.iguazuargentina.com (official site of Argentina park), www.cataratasdoiguacu.com.br (official site of Brazil park).