“Big water” as the name, Iguazu Falls, translates to, is a misnomer. The volume of water cascading all around visitors is enormous, tremendous and deafening. It’s more than big. Best of all, it’s a great tourist destination. The Argentine and Brazilian park services have done a world-class job to make the Falls accessible to everyone…something we haven’t seen in too many places.
From a distance the Falls fill your view, but it’s more like this photo, too large to comprehend and quiet enough to make you doubt it’s size.
As you get closer you start to feel the power of millions of gallons of rushing water. The tropical jungle sounds start to be drowned out by a deep rumble that seems to emanate from the earth.
Up close to the Falls you can forget about having a conversation. Even the ecstatic screams of children are muted by the overwhelming sound of water rushing, everywhere. There is so much noise, coming from every direction, that it sounds more like continuous rolling thunder than water.
The sounds are impressive, but getting up close, on the platform below, puts the falls in perspective. The falls are still considerably far away, but too close for most people’s comfort, especially with the “spray” firing off the falls as though shot from a cannon. It takes seconds to be drenched, and you’re just collecting the by-product of the falls. It does a great job making you wonder what it must be like in the falls themselves.
The platform paths extend where you’d want, but substantially further than anyone would expect. They extend right over the “nose of the devil” the center of the Falls, where daring visitors can look directly into the abyss.
Throughout the world the natural wonders impress, but rarely does the park do the wonder justice. The Iguazu Falls experience is made great by the park. While enormous waterfalls would always attract visitors, this park is a must-visit for the inner child in all of us. That child inside of you that wants to be blasted by one of nature’s most powerful waterfalls? You can have it. That adventurous voice that says, “wouldn’t it be cool to be right at the edge, looking straight down the falls?” You can do it at Iguazu.
WHEN YOU GO:
1. Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentine side, is a great little tourist city. Being a border town and international tourist destination, it has fun bars and an awesome market with cheap beer and Argentine beef.
2. Bring sunscreen and water…lots of water. The falls are in the jungle, literally. It’s hot, hot, hot in the sun, so make sure to have sunscreen.
3. US Citizens require a visa to enter Brazil. Even to visit the falls for the day, you’ll need to get a visa which officially costs $160 for a 10-year visa. If you exchange USD to Argentine Pesos on Avenida Florida in Buenos Aires, where you get twice as many Pesos per dollar as from an ATM, you can essentially get 50% off the Brazilian visa in Puerto Iguazu. We did this and got our visa in a day.