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Iguacu Falls!!

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Old June 7th 07, 05:14 PM posted to rec.photo.technique.nature
Bart CAT Travel
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Default Iguacu Falls!!

In a way, no South American Travel Experience would be complete
without a trip to Iguacu (also spelled Iguassu and sometimes Iguazu) .
Like Machu Picchu, the giant falls have become both an integral part
of Latin America, as well as an iconic representation of the type of
beauty so often found within the continent. I think everyone finds
something in Iguacu. However, it all depends on the individual, and
whether they experience a life altering realization, a subtle
understanding of nature, or even just a quiet peace of mind, people
both lose and find themselves in this jungle waterfall wonderland.
Over the years, I have traveled to Iguacu a number of times for both
business and pleasure and am always amazed. And amid bromeliads,
vines, orchids and a kaleidoscope of brightly colored butterflies, the
mighty falls never fail to impress me with their reckless beauty.
The name Iguacu derives from Guarani and translates as "Great Water".
It's a very apt description to say the very least. According to local
tradition I am told that the falls were created when a Guarani god
fell in love with a beautiful young girl in the area and decided to
make her his wife. Listless in this regard however, the young girl
took off with her lover in a boat and headed downstream. The god's
wrath was apparently terrible, and in order to avenge himself he broke
the river Iguacu and created the falls which sent the young girl and
her lover to a watery grave. It seems like a rather elaborate way to
extract revenge - I agree - but when looking out over the falls and
appreciating their sheer immensity it's easy to gauge how annoyed the
deity must have been. All I can say is that she really must have been
unbelievably attractive to evoke such a wonder.
The falls themselves consist of 270 separate cascades that stretch in
white veiled patches for over 2.7 kilometers with vivid green jungle
sprouting spectacularly between the waterfall segments wherever it
can. The Garganta do Diabo or Devil's Throat is perhaps the most
impressive of all the falls and with a U bend shape, it stretches for
over 700 meters. The fall marks the division between Brazil and
Argentina and is best seen from the Brazilian side, but best
experienced from the Argentina side as you're much closer to the
actual falls. A raised platform on the Argentine side leads one out
over the river for almost a kilometer right up to the very edge of the
Devil's Throat. The lookout point is so close to the falls that you
can almost touch the billowing clouds of mist that rise up from the
depths and obscure the view of Brazil across the river. Its rather
magical standing right there and feeling both the immensity and power
of the river as it falls right by you.
enjoy Iguacu from both the Brazilian and Argentine sides - both have
their merits, and it is generally recommendable to spend time on
either side in order to get a better feel for the falls. Both the
Brazilian and Argentine side offer a number of different activities,
with everything from jungle walks and abseiling, to adventure rafting
and helicopter rides available. The Macuco Safari offered on the
Brazilian side involves a spectacular hike and drive through the
surrounding forest down to the river where you board a large outboard
motor speed boat and make your way up river to the falls. The drivers
- all fully professional - skillfully maneuver the boat directly under
the falling water in what can only be described as a heart stopping
yet life changing experience. It changes ones perspective and I loved
it. The Helicopter flights are also very worthwhile - the view from a
thousand feet above the falls is utterly unbelievable and the pilots
are skilled at taking the choppers as close as possible to the falling
From a regional point of view, the falls lie between Brazil and

Argentina; while another of the area's famous sites - the great Itaipu
Dam - lies between Paraguay and Brazil. The Itaipu Hydroelectric Power
Plant is the largest of its kind in the world. It's well worth seeing
for no other reason than the sheer size of the dam is mind boggling. I
am very pro hydroelectric power as it's a great way to generate clean
energy - and while the dam itself looks like a bit of a concrete
abrasion on what is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Latin
America - one needs to take into account the fact that the plant
supplies Brazil with close to 25% of its power needs, and Paraguay
with almost 97%. That is a lot of clean energy. The dam is rated at
one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World - and with enough
concrete to build 210 giant football stadiums, and enough steel to
build 380 Eiffel Towers; it is hardly any wonder why.
Three settlements in three different countries converge around Iguacu
and give the area a distinctive feel and vibe. While you're on the
Brazilian side you feel very much as though you are in Brazil. The
same holds true for the Argentine and Paraguayan sides, and this is
strange as one could almost argue that the three settlements are so
close to one another that they practically make up the same city.
Brazilian Foz de Iguacu is the largest, and within the lively city it
is easy to find samba, capirinhas, and colorful attitudes. The
Argentine side is home to Puerto de Iguassu - a tranquil, safe, cheap,
and much smaller town where you can eat a great Argentine Parilla
(Barbeque). The Paraguayan settlement is a trade free zone called
Ciudade del Este and is a haven for counterfeit watches and knock-off
computers - it's a bustling town, rougher than the Brazilian and
Argentine sides, but a great place to go if you're looking for a good
deal. All three towns are connected by bridges and separated by border
control posts giving them a feeling of both unification and detachment
from one another. Most tourists choose to stay on either the Argentine
or Brazilian side - visiting the other side for a day.
Regardless of what there is to see and do in and around the falls, it
is the falls themselves that remain very much the central attraction
to the area. I've heard it said that Iguacu is at once both mind
numbingly large, and jaw dropping beautiful. I guess Iguacu will
always remain one of those places where you just can't seem to fully
appreciate its immensity and beauty. There is simply too much to see
there. The falls - I feel - are just way too big and way too beautiful
to ever really be understood and respected in the way that they
deserve to be. For the most part all we can do is visit, gain what we
can personally from seeing one of natures most spectacular sites, and
then leave knowing that there are still places on earth that remain a
You can visit my blog for pictures of these impressive waterfalls:

Until the next time, keep on traveling!



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