There was a time when I was constantly shuttling back-and-forth between
São Paulo and . In those days, there was (probably still is) an Aerolíneas Argentinas flight between the two cities that always got my preference. It wasn’t the fastest, because it wasn’t direct, but it was the most convenient. It left at a reasonable hour in the morning and still got me to BA in time for meetings in the afternoon. Buenos Aires
But convenience wasn’t the only reason I preferred that flight. I preferred it, too, because it made a stop in Iguaçu – and, from the aircraft, I always had a spectacular view of the waterfalls.
There are 275 of them, stretching over a distance of three kilometers.
The average height is eighty meters. (
Niagara’s average height is 53.)
At one place, the Devil’s Throat, 13,000 cubic meters of water, per second, flow over a horseshoe-shaped 90 meter cliff. (About five times what flows over
Niagara.) You can rent a helicopter, if you like, and get really close. It’s an adrenaline rush to be surrounded by tons of falling water on three sides.
August through November is the best time to go. That’s the period of heaviest rainfall, when things are at their most spectacular.
As you’ll note from the map, part of the falls are in
Brazil and part in . Which side should you go to? Well, actually, you should go to both. Argentina
Brazil, you get the best general views.
, you get closer to the action. Argentina
The tripartite border between
Argentina, Brazil and is only about twenty kilometers from the falls. Paraguay
To get to the Paraguayan city of
Ciudad del Este all you have to do is walk across the . Friendship Bridge
Why would you want to?
Well, aside from the unique opportunity to chalk-up a visit to three South American countries in a single day, it’s because you get to visit the greatest smuggling center in all of the
You can get anything in Ciudad del Este.
Had enough of the sleaze?
Return to the falls to cleanse your mind.
Brazilian side, Argentinean side, it doesn’t matter. Rainbows, spray, roaring water, parrots flying over green jungle, they’ve all been wowing visitors since 1541.
That’s when the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (pictured above) first set eyes on them. And it was an Indian burial ground for untold centuries before that.
The waterfalls of Iguaçu/Iguazu. (The Argentineans spell it with a “z”.)
They’ve waiting for you.
Leighton - Monday