What is Iguazu Falls?

Devon Pryor

The Iguazu Falls are a group of 275 separate waterfalls of South America's Iguazú River. From end to end, the scattered Iguazu Falls span across 1.67 miles (2.7 km). Roughly one half mile (900 m) of the cliff over which the falls plummet is actually dry. The majority of the falls are about 200 feet (61 m) in height, though the tallest reach heights of 269 feet (82 m).

Roughly 66 per cent of the Iguazu Falls are located inside Argentina.
Roughly 66 per cent of the Iguazu Falls are located inside Argentina.

The Iguazu Falls are located on the border between Brazil and Argentina. Technically, about 66% of the falls are within Argentinean territory, and the remainder of the falls are within Brazilian territory. More specifically, the Iguazu Falls are located in the Brazilian state of Paraná, and the Argentine province of Misiones.

Rock climbing is offered at Iguazu Falls.
Rock climbing is offered at Iguazu Falls.

Both countries have designated National Parks, which overlap to include Iguazu Falls. In Brazil, this park is called Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, as befits the Portuguese spelling of he word. Likewise, in Argentina, the Spanish name for the park is Parque Nacional Iguazú.

Devil’s Throat, considered the most spectacular section of the Iguazu Falls, is a U-shaped cliff 490 feet (150 m) wide and 2,300 feet (700 m) long. Devi’s Throat is known as Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese, and Garganta del Diablo in Spanish. Devil’s Throat is the most popular location for tourists at Iguazu Falls, though any section of the falls is impressive. Rock climbing and water sports are also offered at Iguazu Falls.

Another particularly impressive feature of Iguazu Falls is the mists, which can rise from Devil’s Throat to heights of 500 feet (150 m). The total flow of water over the Iguazu Falls is usually between 350,000 and 400,000 gallons per second (1,300,000 – 1,500,00 L).

The Iguazu Falls can be reached by way of the Brazilian city Foz do Iguaçu in Paraná, or from Argentina by way of Puerto Iguazú in Misiones. The falls can also be reached through Ciudad del Este in the neighboring country of Paraguay. The most common access point from Brazil is a trail near Garganta do Diabo. In Argentina, a train called Tren de las Catartas delivers visitors to viewing points all along the falls, but Devil’s Throat is the most visited of these.

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