Iguazu Falls - Poor Niagara!

We had an exceptional time at Iguazu.  Frankly I'd never really heard of Iguazu prior to our visit to Argentina last year. I know, I know, typical Americans that live in our bubble of North America.  Niagara Falls?  Been there done that, and frankly not so impressed.  Another waterfall?? Ok, Ok, I'll go for the kiddos...and darn glad I did!

We stayed at the Sheraton hotel (using my Starwood points).  It just so happens the Sheraton is the only hotel in the middle of the National Park.  We could walk outside and be on the paths or small train to the hiking trails.  Fortunately on our second day after some haggling with the front desk we received a complimentary upgrade to one of their 4 suites.  The accommodations were MUCH better than the previous room.

Other than being in the best location for access to the falls, I would rate the Sheraton as poor.  The food was bad & expensive and the service terrible.  The good news is we did not let this slow us down, and had an excellent time exploring both the park and town of Puerto Iguazu.

Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States' First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!" Iguazu is also often compared with Southern Africa's Victoria Falls which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. Iguazu is wider, but because it is split into about 275 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria is the largest curtain of water in the world, at over 1,600 m (5,249 ft) wide and over 100 m (328 ft) in height (in low flow Victoria is split into five by islands; in high flow it can be uninterrupted). The only wider falls are extremely large rapid-like falls such as the Boyoma Falls.

With the flooding of the Guaíra Falls in 1982, Iguazu currently has the second greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world, after Niagara, with an average rate of 1,746 m3/s (61,660 cu ft). Its maximum recorded flow was 12,800 m3/s (452,000 cu ft/s). By comparison, the average flow of Niagara Falls is 2,400 m3/s (85,000 cu ft), with a maximum recorded flow of 8,300 m3/s (293,000 cu ft/s). The average flow at Victoria Falls is 1,088 m3/s (38,420 cu ft/s), with a maximum recorded flow of 7,100 m3/s (250,000 cu ft/s).

Devil's Throat
Mist rises between 30 metres (98 ft) and 150 m (492 ft) from Iguazu's Devil's Throat, and over 300 m (984 ft) above Victoria. However, Iguazu affords better views and walkways and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Devil's Throat, in Argentina, has water pouring into it from three sides. Likewise, because Iguazu is split into many relatively small falls, one can view these a portion at a time. Victoria does not allow this, as it is essentially one waterfall that falls into a canyon and is too immense to appreciate at once (except from the air).

Iguazu Falls was short-listed as a candidate to be one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. As of February 2009 it was ranked fifth in Group F, the category for lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. - Source: Wikipedia

Top of waterfalls on lower side of Iguazu

Since we had 3 full days in Iguazu we spent one day exploring the town of Puerto Iguazu, about a 20 min bus ride from the Sheraton.  The highlight of the day was seeing the bird conservation park. Although Iguazú is home to around 450 bird species, the parks are so busy these days that it can be hard to see the birds.  It's another story at Güira Oga, which means "house of the birds" in Guaraní, although "bird rehab" might be more appropriate.  Injured birds, birds displaced by deforestation, and birds confiscated from traffickers are brought here for treatment. The large cages also contain many species on the verge of extinction, including the harpy eagle and the red macaw, a gorgeous parrot. The visit to Güira Oga was excellent, and the kids LOVED to hear our guide teach about the animals.  By the end of the tour Michael and Elizabeth were holding the tour guide's hands - and they both insisted on hugging her before we left!

In conclusion, this was and excellent trip.  Our photo album and video are located below.  Enjoy!


Comments

  1. You made our morning -- we enjoyed reading/watching this over breakfast! Sophia squealed and banged on the table when she saw the furry rats eating your lunch! Great post!!

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