The Iguazu Falls, Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls
(Spanish: Cataratas del Iguazú [kataˈɾatas ðel iɣwaˈsu];
Guarani: Chororo Yguasu [ɕoɾoɾo ɨɣʷasu]; Portuguese: Cataratas
do Iguaçu [kataˈɾatɐs du iɡwaˈsu]) are waterfalls of the Iguazu
River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the
Brazilian state of Paraná. Together, they make up the largest
waterfall system in the world. The falls divide the river into the
upper and lower Iguazu. The
Iguazu River rises near the city of
Curitiba. For most of its course, the river flows through Brazil;
however, most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below its
confluence with the San Antonio River, the
Iguazu River forms the
Argentina and Brazil.
The name "Iguazú" comes from the Guarani or Tupi words "y" [ɨ],
meaning "water", and "ûasú "[waˈsu], meaning "big". Legend has
it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who
fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity
sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to
an eternal fall. The first European to record the existence of the
falls was the Spanish
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in
Video Clip: Panoramic view of the falls from Argentine side
2 Distribution of the falls between
Argentina and Brazil
5 Comparisons to other notable falls
8 Portrayals in film
9 See also
11 External links
Iguazu Falls are located where the
Iguazu River tumbles over the
edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from
the Iguazu's confluence with the Paraná River. Numerous islands
along the 2.7-kilometre-long (1.7 mi) edge divide the falls into
many separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 and
82 m (197 and 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 and
82 m × 150 m × 700 m (269 ft
× 492 ft × 2,297 ft). Place names have been
given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martín Falls,
Bossetti Falls, and many others.
About 900 m (2,950 ft) of the 2.7 km (1.7 mi)
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 into the Paraná River, a
short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The junction of the
water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Some points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazú,
Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, have access to the Iguazu
River, where the borders of all three nations may be seen, a popular
tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities.
Distribution of the falls between
Argentina and Brazil
Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that resembles a reversed
letter "J". The border between
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 Argentine, which makes up almost 80% of the falls.
Two international airports are close to Iguazú Falls: the Argentine
Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport
Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) and the Brazilian
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). Argentina's airport is
25 km (16 mi) from the city of Iguazu, but is closer to the
falls hotels than its Brazilian counterpart. Bus and taxi services are
available from and to the Airport-Falls. Brazil's airport is between
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and the falls.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and
LATAM Argentina have direct flights from
Buenos Aires to Iguazu
International Airport Krause. Azul, GOL, and LATAM Brasil offer
services from main Brazilian cities to Foz do Iguaçu.
Iguazú Falls from the International Space Station, 2016
The falls may be reached from two main towns, with one on either side
of the falls:
Puerto Iguazú in
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu in
Brazil, as well as from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on the other side
Paraná River from Foz do Iguaçu. The falls are shared by the
Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and
Iguaçu National Park
Iguaçu National Park (Brazil).
The two parks were designated
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and
The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a
pristine environment to "future generations", just as "it had been
created by God" and endowed with "all possible preservation, from the
beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome" and "an
unmatched flora" located in the "magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls".
These were the words used by André Rebouças, an engineer, in his
book Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia, which
started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçu Falls in 1876.
At this time,
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., the first
national park in the world, was four years old.
On the Brazilian side, a walkway along the canyon has an extension to
the lower base of Devil's Throat.
Helicopter rides offering aerial
views of the falls have been available from Brazil, but
prohibited such helicopter tours because of the adverse environmental
impact on the flora and fauna of the falls. From Foz do Iguaçu
airport, the park may be reached by taking a taxi or bus to the
entrance of the park. Their park has an entrance fee on both sides.
Once inside, free and frequent buses are provided to various points
within the park. The town of
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 km
(12 mi) away, and the airport is between the park and the town.
The Argentine access, across the forest, is by a Rainforest Ecological
Train very similar to the one in Disney's Animal Kingdom.[citation
needed] The train brings visitors to the entrance of Devil's Throat,
as well as the upper and lower trails. The Paseo Garganta del Diablo
is a 1 km-long (0.6 mi) trail that brings visitors directly
over the falls of Devil's Throat, the highest and deepest of the
falls. Other walkways allow access to the elongated stretch of falls
across the forest on the Argentine side and to the boats that connect
to San Martin Island. Also on the Argentine side, inflatable boat
services take visitors very close to the falls.
Walkways allow close views of the falls from both
The Brazilian transportation system aims at allowing the increase in
the number of visitors, while reducing the adverse environmental
impact, through an increase in the average number of passengers per
vehicle inside the park. The new transportation
system has 72-passenger capacity and panoramic-view, double-deck
buses. The upper deck is open, which enables visitors a broad view of
the flora and fauna during the trip to the falls. The bus combustion
systems are in compliance with the CONAMA (phase IV) and EURO (phase
II) emissions and noise requirements. The reduction in the number of
vehicles, of noise levels, and speed, is enabling tourists to observe
increasing numbers of wild animals along the route.
Each bus has an exclusive paint scheme, representing some of the most
common wild animals found in the Iguaçú National Park, including the
spotted jaguars, butterflies, raccoons, prego monkeys, coral snakes,
toucans, parrots, and yellow-breasted caimans.
Comparisons to other notable falls
Victoria Falls § Statistics
Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
reportedly exclaimed, "Poor Niagara!" (which, at 50 m or 165 feet,
are a third shorter). Often, Iguazu also is compared with Victoria
Falls in Southern Africa, which separates
Zambia and Zimbabwe. Iguazu
is wider, but because it is split into roughly 275 discrete falls and
large islands, Victoria has the largest curtain of water in the world,
at more than 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 may be uninterrupted). The only wider falls
are extremely large rapid-like falls, such as the Boyoma Falls
With the flooding of the
Guaíra Falls in 1982, Iguazu currently has
the sixth-greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world,
following number five Niagara, with an average rate of 1,746 m3/s
(61,660 cu ft/s). Its maximum recorded flow was
45,700 m3/s (1,614,000 cu ft/s) in 9 June 2014.
By comparison, the average flow of
Niagara Falls is 2,400 m3/s
(85,000 cu ft/s), 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).
Iguazu Falls experience a humid subtropical climate (Cfa,
according to the Köppen climate classification) with abundant
precipitation and high temperatures year-round. During the summer of
2006, a severe drought caused the
Iguazu River to become diminished,
reducing the amount of water flowing over the falls to 300 cubic
metres per second (11,000 cu ft/s) until early December.
This was unusual, as dry periods normally last only a few weeks.
Climate data for
Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguacu), Brazil
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Aerial view of the
Iguazu Falls from a helicopter
Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side
Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side
Aerial view, from the Argentine side
Falls and Brazilian tourist complex
Panorama of the falls
Portrayals in film
Iguazu Falls have been featured in several TV shows and movies,
Le cascate dell'Ignazu (1907, Ambrosio. Shot by Roberto Omegna, 135
Z Argentiny do Mexika (1954)
Curucu, Beast of the Amazon
Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)
The Mission (1986)
The Country Bears Down Under (1990)
Extermineitors IV: Como hermanos gemelos (1992)
O Trem Caipira (1994)
Happy Together (1997)
Mr. Magoo (1997)
Miami Vice (2006)
In the Hands of the Gods (2007)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (2009)
Salve Geral (2009)
Survivor: Tocantins (2009)
Operação X (2011)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
If Cats Disappeared From the World
If Cats Disappeared From the World (2016)
Black Panther (film)
Black Panther (film) (2018)
List of waterfalls by flow rate
^ a b c d e f g "Iguaçu Falls". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library ed.). 2011. Retrieved 15
^ Dominic Couzens (2008), Top 100 Birding Sites of the World,
University of California Press, p. 228,
^ a b c Bonnie Hamre. "Iguazu Falls". About.com Travel.
^ "Travel to Puerto Iguazu". LATAM. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
^ "Travel to Foz Do Iguaçu". LATAM. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "
UNESCO World Heritage Centre –
World Heritage List". unesco.org.
Helicopter Ride". IguazuFalls.com. Retrieved 23
^ Fabiula Wurmeister (9 June 2014). "Chuvas fazem vazão das Cataratas
bater recorde e Itaipu abrir vertedouro". globo.com notícias.
Retrieved 11 June 2014.
^ "Dia histórico nas Cataratas do Iguaçu". Cataratas do Iguaçu S.A.
10 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
^ "Niagara Falls". World
Waterfall Database. Retrieved 2 December
^ "Victoria Falls". World
Waterfall Database. Retrieved 2 December
^ "The Kerala Articles". keralaarticles.blogspot.com.
^ "NORMAIS CLIMATOLÓGICAS DO BRASIL 1961–1990" (in Portuguese).
Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
^ IMDb. "Most Popular Titles With Location Matching "Foz do Iguaçu,
Paraná, Brazil"". Retrieved 30 October 2010.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iguaçu Falls.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Iguaçu Falls.
Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu (Brazilian government site, in Portuguese)
Copel Monitoramento Hydrológico (
Iguazu River flow rate measurements;
leftmost green dot gives flow rate at Hotel Cataratas)
Iguazu Falls – Information, Hotels, Activities
Iguazu Falls Travel Information (English website)
Iguazu Falls page
Iguazu Falls at
UNESCO World Heritage Centre site
Iguazu Falls facts
"Iguazu Falls". World
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