Iguazu Falls are located on the territory of two Iguazu National Parks of the same name (Argentinean and Brazilian), covering an area of 67,720 hectares. This system, consisting of 275 waterfalls located in the Mid-Atlantic forests, is located 17 kilometers from the mouth of the Rio Iguazu River, on the Parana River, at the point where the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay intersect. The name Iguazu, in Guarani, stands for "Big Water" ("I" is water and "Guasu" is big). Waterfalls formed after a strong volcanic eruption, resulting in a large cleft in the ground. There are several Native American legends according to which the gods cut the river in order to prevent the couple in love to swim in a canoe from their anger. Either the supreme god himself wanted to marry an Indian girl, and she escaped from him, or the couple in love escaped from the tribe without parental blessing, but in both cases the gods terribly punished the lovers. Be that as it may, the basalt sediments along which the waterfalls flow occurred about 130-140 million years ago. At that time, waterfalls were located almost at the confluence of the Iguazu River in Parana. However, each year the distance between the waterfall and the Parana River increased by about 1-2 meters, as a result of which the waterfall “crawled” from its place of birth by 28 kilometers. Archaeological sites found in the park indicate that the first inhabitants of these territories are the Indian tribes “Kayngang” and “Guarani”. Europeans discovered waterfalls in 1541, during an expedition in search of the country of Eldorado. The pioneer of the waterfalls is considered to be the Spanish conquistador, explorer of the New World Cabez de Vaca. It was he who in 1541 captured the country of the Guarani Indians, called it the province of Vera and took his hands in power. However, the waterfalls did not make a strong impression on the colonizer. He called them the Spanish word "Considerable", that is, "significant." The first owner of these lands was the landowner, businessman, politician, philanthropist and philanthropist of Argentina José Gregorio de Lezama. However, he did not see in “a piece of the jungle bordering several waterfalls” of special value. Therefore, the land was sold at a public auction for next to nothing. The next owner of these lands was Domingo Ayarragaray. It was he who began to develop the infrastructure of the park. The first hotel was built, the construction of roads leading to the waterfalls began. Soon the park was acquired by the Argentine government, under the leadership of President Hipolito Yrigoyen. On October 9, 1934, the Iguazu lands were declared a National Park. By its nature and climate, the Iguazu Park resembles the tropics of the Amazonian forests, the richest in biological diversity. The climate is tropical dry. Average air temperatures range from 14 ° C in winter to 24ºC in summer. Precipitation falls 1800 millimeters per year, the rainy season - in the summer. Forests here are multi-level, the highest level of tree crowns is called “canopy”, below - a few more “steps” of lower trees. At the lowest level of shrubs and grasses, different types of yerba mate grow, from which tea popular in Argentina is brewed. Orchids grow directly on tree trunks. The lush jungle of the park abounds with vines, epiphytes and ferns. In addition, coastal forests are located at the backs of ponds. At various levels of the rainforest, all kinds of animals and birds live. These are monkeys, squirrels, coatis, toucans, margins, various colorful noisy magpies. At the lower level, you can see guinea pigs, mountain goats, foxes, agouti, lizards, overs. And by the presence of traces on the earth, one can guess the presence of jaguars in the park. An alligator in the water, a perch or a snake, turtles, as well as numerous fish are a common occurrence of the aquatic fauna “Iguazu”. Only 450 species of birds live in the Iguazu National Park. In 1984, the Iguazu National Park was listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in order to preserve and universally disseminate its natural and cultural significance as a common heritage of mankind. Since 1991, Iguazu has been operating the world's largest Itaipu hydroelectric power station, which was built jointly by the forces of Paraguay and Brazil and provides 40% of the energy needs of Brazil and Argentina. November 11, 2011, according to the results of the global competition, Iguazu Falls were recognized as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
As in most national parks in Argentina, tourists pay entrance fees to Iguazu Park on their own. The cost ranges from 20 to 60 pesos, that is, from 7 to 20 USD.
A visit on the second and subsequent days of the park entitles you to a 50% discount. It is enough only when leaving the park to put a stamp with the administrator on the entry ticket and provide it with the entrance the next day. Excursions in the park can be different:
1. A visit to the yvyra Peta information center (translated as “land of trees”), which provides general information about the climatic and geological nature of the park, tells about the history of this place, about the preservation of the environment and valuable natural resources that are in danger of extinction.
2. Walking tour "Green Path" (655 meters), starts from the information center and ends at the train station trains leading to the waterfalls. For half an hour of a pleasant walk through the subtropical jungle, visitors can appreciate the wide variety of plant species, observe birds and animals.
3. Then you can reach the waterfalls in 15 minutes by train. The Rainforest ecological train was designed and built by the English company Alan Keef Limited specifically for the movement of tourists in the Iguazu National Park area. The train cars are open, so its 250 passengers are in direct contact with the surrounding nature. They can perceive and feel sounds, smells, moisture of the jungle. In 15 minutes the train travels a distance of 3700 meters. (Average speed of 18 kilometers per hour).
4. “The Devil's Throat” is the most interesting part of Iguazu. This U-shaped depression is 150 meters wide and 700 meters long, and it is this that is the main place of visits. Among tourists, a visit to the Devil's Throat from both countries is popular, although even from one point a view of the waterfall at 260º opens. A helicopter flight over a waterfall will give you especially vivid impressions, from where you can admire the most beautiful natural panorama of our planet. It is no less interesting to look at one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the Earth from below, having bought a boat tour.
We advise you to put on your favorite swimsuit or swimming trunks in advance, and put the removed clothes in a rubber bag, which can be taken on the pier (it will be possible to put a camera in it). Nobody has managed to escape from the spray of waterfalls! Raincoats are useless to buy: all the same, everyone will get wet. And of course, do not forget about towels and comfortable shoes.