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Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguacu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian State of Parana and the Argentine Province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River originates near the city of Curitiba. It flows through Brazil for most of its course. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina.

The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guarani or Tupi words y, meaning "water", and Uasu, meaning "big". Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipi, who fled with her mortal lover Taroba in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.The first European to find the falls was the Spanish Conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Geography of Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Parana Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu's confluence with the Parana River.Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre (1.7 mi) long edge divide the falls into numerous separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 metres (200 ft) and 82 metres (269 ft) high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level.About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese).The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide, and 700-meter-long. Placenames have been given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others.

About 900 meters of the 2.7-kilometer length does not have water flowing over it. The edge of the basalt cap recedes by 3 mm (0.1 in) per year. The water of the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains in the Parana River, a short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguazu River where the borders of all three countries can be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities.

Distribution of the Iguazu Falls between Argentina and Brazil

Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that seems a reverse J. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil's Throat. On the right bank is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the left side jumps are Argentines, which make up almost 80% of the falls. To completely and fully appreciate the falls, the recommendation is to visit both the Argentine and Brazilian side, as one side is a panorama of the other, and vice versa. Those who know have said, more or less, that "from Brazil are the falls, and from Argentina is living". However, one moves between the jumps on the Argentine side, not only for gateways that allow almost touch the water, but also boat tours that allow oneself to jump up next to the stunning waterfalls, and even, it can delve to the very Devil's Throat, if one starts by boat from Argentina.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Comparisons to other famous falls

Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" Iguazu is also often compared with Southern Africa's Victoria Falls which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. Iguazu is wider, but because it is split into about 275 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria is the largest curtain of water in the world, at over 1,600 m (5,249 ft) wide and over 100 m (328 ft) in height (in low flow Victoria is split into five by islands; in high flow it can be uninterrupted). The only wider falls are extremely large rapid-like falls such as the Boyoma Falls.

With the flooding of the Guaira Falls in 1982, Iguazu currently has the second greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world, after Niagara, with an average rate of 1,746 m3/s (61,660 cu ft). Its maximum recorded flow was 12,800 m3/s (452,000 cu ft/s). By comparison, the average flow of Niagara Falls is 2,400 m3/s (85,000 cu ft), with a maximum recorded flow of 8,300 m3/s (293,000 cu ft/s).The average flow at Victoria Falls is 1,088 m3/s (38,420 cu ft/s), with a maximum recorded flow of 7,100 m3/s (250,000 cu ft/s).

Mist rises between 30 metres (98 ft) and 150 m (492 ft) from Iguazu's Devil's Throat, and over 300 m (984 ft) above Victoria. However, Iguazu affords better views and walkways and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Devil's Throat, in Argentina, has water pouring into it from three sides. Likewise, because Iguazu is split into many relatively small falls, one can view these a portion at a time. Victoria does not allow this, as it is essentially one waterfall that falls into a canyon and is too immense to appreciate at once (except from the air).

On November 11 of 2011, Iguazu Falls was announced as one of the seven winners of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls Tourism

There are two international airports close to Iguazu Falls: the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport (IGR) and the Brazilian Foz do Iguacu International Airport (IGU). Argentina's airport is 25 kilometers from the city of Iguazu but closer to the Falls hotels than his Brazilian counterpart, there is bus and taxi service from and to the Airport-Falls. Brazil's airport is between Foz do Iguacu, Brazil and the falls. LAN Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas have direct flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu International Airport Krause and several Brazilian airlines as TAM Airlines, GOL, Azul, WebJet offer service from the main Brazilian cities to Foz do Igua?u.

Links:Brazilian Landmarks - Iguazu Falls