Living in Colombia I have learned two words forwaterfall: cascada and chorrera. Why I need more synonymous second-language vocabulary filling my brain, I don’t know, but now I have catarata and salto to contend with. (Not being a “waterfall expert,” there may well be more than one English noun to describe a river that runs off a cliff, but four seems excessive.)
The Cataratas de Iguazú, located outside of the quiet tourist town of Puerto Iguazú, are awe-inspiring to say the least. At around 1.7 miles across with a total of 275 different individual falls*, this world-famous natural wonder straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil. To stand and watch the incredible quantity of water that rushes over the edge is bewildering. If the pictures look familiar it may also be because the falls have been used in numerous Hollywood films including "The Mission" (1986) starring Robert DeNiro, "Mr. Magoo" (1997), and the most recent Indiana Jones sequel (2008), among others.
The first jaw-dropping view of the falls is usually from the upper ledges; I’m not exaggerating when I say I got goose bumps! Further hiking trails allow you to climb down to the lower basin and gaze up into the powerful and refreshing mists as thousands of gallons of water surge toward you. At the bottom we boarded a small boat and were driven underneath a few of the falls, which, while blinding, provided a welcome reprieve from the jungle heat of northern Argentina. Another short distance by tram takes you to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat), a U-shaped section of the falls where nearly half the fall’s water spills over 80 meters downward.
This is one of those astoundingly beautiful places that no photograph could ever truly and completely capture. Nevertheless, I tried…
The coati is a relative of the raccoon native to the area
that enjoys stealing tourist lunches.
It is comparable in size to a medium-breed dog.
At the far end of Puerto Iguazú is the confluence of two rivers.
From here you can see both Brazil (left) and Paraguay (right).
And then there is this video (courtesy of Kristin):