Are you are looking to visit somewhere special in the world? Somewhere that takes your breath away, and leaves you speechless? Somewhere where God has intervened to present nature at her most fearsome and beautiful? Somewhere to remind man that although he can build castles and palaces, on the earth and in space, he can never build the palaces of nature? Nor can he ever match nature’s power or beauty.
The Iguacu Falls are nature’s reminder to man.
The Iguacu Falls mean ‘big waters’ in Guarani, the local Indian language. The first European to find the Falls was the Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541, but the falls remained largely forgotten into the nineteenth century. Legend tells the story that the Falls were created by a God, who planned to marry a beautiful woman. She fled to her lover and they escaped in a canoe on the river. The God was overcome by rage and cut up the river to create the waterfalls, which condemned the lovers to an eternal fall in the waters. Even today, you can see the God was angry!
When America’s first lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Iguaçu, she was gob smacked and reportedly quipped ‘Poor Niagara’. Yes, Iguacu does that to you. Everything else pales in comparison. Here we have more than 275 separate waterfalls which fall between Argentina and Brazil spread over 2.7 kilometers, with falls between 60 meters and 82 meters tall. The largest waterfall is the ‘Gargantua do Diabo’, the Devil’s Throat in Portuguese, which is a U-shaped 82 meter high waterfall, which is 700 meters long and 150 meters wide.
The Iguacu Falls are located where the Iguaçu River dives over the edge of the Parana Plateau after the Iguaçu’s meeting with the Parana River. Iguacu has the second greatest average of annual water flow with 1,746 cubic meters per second, compared with Niagara’s 2,400 cubic metres per second, but its highest recorded flow is 12,800 cubic meters per second compared to Niagara’s 8,300 cubic meters per second.
UNESCO denominated the falls a world heritage site in 1986.
The falls are bordered by two national parks, one of 550 square Kilometers on the Argentinean side, and one of 1700 square Kilometers on the Brazilian side. Both national parks are goldmines of the diversity of nature, with flora and fauna and animal species in abundance. Animals to be found include the Jaguar, the jaguarondi, the tapir, the ocelot and the anteater. Oh, and a new world of birds. And did I mention that smartly dressed bird, the toucan? He will be dressed in a tuxedo as ever. If you so much as just glimpse him or hear him, he will give you that simple, but true sense of happiness. You will also discover a whole new world of butterflies.
The point is that when you visit the Iguacu Falls you are just not visiting a waterfall. When you visit some waterfalls in the world, you arrive, you look for ten minutes, you take a few photographs, and then you think ‘that’s nice’, and then you go for a coffee. The Iguacu Falls are different. The words and thoughts are not relevant. In fact, your words and thoughts are not appropriate. Your words and thoughts will be swept away before you. You will not be going for a coffee.
In Iguacu you are visiting a paradise of nature, a place of god-inspired, awe-inspiring beauty, where words just do not do justice to the place. It is a festival for the eyes.
You could visit it for day, a week, a month or a year and you would not discover or see everything, or even, anything. And that is the frustration. You may visit it once or twice or more, and leave. But you will forever have that feeling, that deep, gut wrenching feeling, that there is more to see, more to feel, more to do, and that ever-lasting, overpowering urge to return.
After all this is the place where man is reminded that a god was spurned in love, and the falls shed his crocodile tears for the whole world to see for evermore.
Gerard Moxon is Founder of Luxury Hedonist.