- Author: Launa Herrmann
Published on: December 3, 2019
I invite you on an I-phone photographic journey to South America. To stroll down walkways, across footbridges and over boardwalks through one of the few remaining inland rainforests. To lean over catwalks and vista points as you absorb the majesty of a waterfall twice as tall and three times wider than Niagara and wider still than Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls.
In Part One of this two-part blog, we explore Iguazu Falls, Argentina - Its water. Part Two covers its vegetation.
For me, the destination was a must-see bucket list item my daughter insisted I visit. “Lots of plants to look at,” she said. I was hooked. When we booked the trip, I had never heard of the subtropical Paranaense Rainforest that once covered over 386,102 square miles in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. When I thought about a South American rainforest, only the Amazon came to mind. I didn't know that this particular rainforest (part of the Interior Atlantic Forest) has been reduced to less than 5% of its original size. I had no clue about past destruction, current conservation attempts and the continuing controversy surrounding this rapidly disappearing richly bio-diverse area.
But our trip in early September changed all that. When we finally arrived at the Gran Melia (the one and only hotel located within the Iguazu National Park in the northern Argentinian province of Misiones) a bit fatigued from hours of air travel, I voted in favor of a nap. But that was before . . .
Before I stepped into the lobby.
Before a view of the falls greeted me.
Before the landscape took my breath away.
Part One: Iguazu Falls, Argentina - Its Water
“Big water” or “Great water” is the Guarani Indian translation for Iguazu. For sure, Iguazu Falls lives up to its name as the waters of the Iguazu River swirl around islands, plunge over rocky escarpments and divide into 275 distinct waterfalls or cataracts (depending upon the seasonal water flow) before converging with the Parana River below. During the rainy months of November to March, enough water to fill five Olympic swimming pools, flows from the falls — approximately 459,090 cubic feet.
The star attraction is the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo), described as “the largest water curtain in the whole system” with 14 waterfalls plummeting more than 242 feet off an elongated horseshoe shaped cliff into a gorge. This wide rapid drop creates a continual cloud of mist rising 500 feet — forming rainbows and making a roar heard miles away. Upon viewing Iguazu Falls, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt supposedly exclaimed, “Poor Niagara.” Others who stood at its vistas have aptly described the sight of such fast-falling water as “an ocean plunging into an abyss.”
The photos below don't come close to describing the experience of looking over the edge at all that water. No wonder this amazing rainforest straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you're a gardener with a bucket list, I can't recommend a more intriguing destination. How blessed I am that I saw this last remaining remnant of an inland rainforest before it is lost forever.
Coming soon . . . Part Two: Iguazu Falls, Argentina – Its Vegetation.
For further information on this UNESCO World Heritage Site, log on to
To view a map of Iguazu Falls, visit https://www.01argentina.com/sitio/map_iguazu.html