Iguazu/Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina

The Great Water Thunder

San Martín Fall
Palm trees dominate the Iguaçu Falls, with the island of San Martin in the background.
A woman is on the lookout for one of the most powerful falls in the Iguaçu Falls.
Iguazu inside II
Visitors crowd at the end of a walkway, sprayed by the water released by the surrounding falls.
Leap San Martin
A group of visitors admire the massive San Martin fall, one of the most imposing on the Argentine side of the Iguaçu River.
bold navigation
Boat full of passengers challenges a drop at the base on Isla San Martin.
Iguazu inside
Visitors crowd at the end of a walkway, beside a glittering rainbow.
Naipi jump
Imposing waterfall on the lateral extension of the Devil's Throat.
torrents apart
Secondary fall, where water and vegetation divide the cliff.
A toucan, one of the birds that inhabits the jungle around the Iguaçu River.
big water
A group of people admire the Devil's Throat from a platform on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Iguazu à pine cone
A multitude of visitors share a platform over the Iguaçu River.
Iguazu River
Aerial view of the Iguaçu River and the Iguaçu Falls.
white waters
Top of a jump, in front of the Naipi space.
Balcony view
A woman admires the green and drained scenery of the Argentine side of the Iguaçu Falls.
Boat with powerful engines makes a reckless foray into one of the falls of San Martin Island.
On the water
Visitors walk along a walkway over the waters of the Iguaçu River.
Palm trees stand out over the falling flow of the Iguaçu River.
Tropical end of day
Sun sets beyond the Argentine bank of the Iguaçu River.
After a long tropical journey, the Iguaçu River gives a dip for diving. There, on the border between Brazil and Argentina, form the largest and most impressive waterfalls on the face of the Earth.

Upon arrival in Foz do Iguaçu, almost directly from Curitiba, we misjudged the situation. We label it a new meteorological-photographic catastrophe.

It was the end of January, the hottest month in this region of southern Brazil and northern Argentina, known for maximum temperatures that easily exceed 40º.

Instead of the “coconut burning” sun that was to be expected, the region was, for four days, covered by a blanket of dark and heavy clouds that poured continuous squalls, accompanied by strong winds and menacing thunderstorms.

Until something changed, those four days amounted to seven. We took the time to discover Foz (as the locals call it) a city more fascinating than elegant.

Destination: ItaipuThe enigmatic and electrifying past of Foz de Iguaçu

Foz has never stopped developing, in the 18 years of construction of the Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant (shared by Brazil and Paraguay) the largest dam in the world until the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, in China.

Of 35.000 inhabitants, in 1973, around the year 2001, it was already home to 256.000. This little sustained growth was also encouraged by the tourist use of the Iguaçu Falls. And not only Brazilians were made.

After World War II, Foz de Iguaçu even welcomed fugitive Nazis. It was the conjunction of the Italian, German, Lebanese, Ukrainian, Argentine and Paraguayan, Chinese and Japanese communities, among other secondary ones, that made it one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

It was reinforced by being located on the Argentine-Brazilian-Paraguay triple-border. This is an area charged with mysticism. From supposed extraterrestrial magnetism that continues to attract religious cults, sects of all kinds and … UFO's.

Not to mention al-Qaeda South American cells, at least relying on the permanent alerts of the Argentine secret services and of Israel.

flight over the reservoir

The Disband of the Cold Front and the Discovery of Overflowing Iguaçu Falls

Like many of the cold fronts that hit the interior of South America in summer, this one also brought successive floods and threatening thunderstorms.

It left the Iguaçu River almost overflowing. It ended up fading against the heat and high pressure of the lower latitudes where we walked.

Finally, the sixth day dawned with a sky sprinkled with white skeins. It gave us the motto we were waiting for to leave Foz de Iguaçu towards the “Great Water”, that is how the Tupi-Guarani indigenous people who have long lived in the tri-border region of the waterfalls got used to calling it.

From the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park, we go straight to its Naipi area. We made a quick elevator ride to the top of the local observation tower and eagerly headed outside.

There we found, for the first time, with the flow of the Iguaçu falling, colossal, brutal, much more powerful than we could ever hope, roaring in such a way that only it could be heard.

Naipi Falls, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

Imposing waterfall on the lateral extension of the fall of Devil's Throat.

Álvar Nuñez's Odyssey, “El Cabeza de Vaca” on the Iguaçu Falls Crossing

When confronted with this unique landscape, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, the stubborn explorer of Jerez de La Fontera will have exclaimed: “Santa Maria, how beautiful!". We share your enthusiasm.

From the top of that supreme terrace, we can appreciate the inflated bed of the Iguaçu crashing onto huge rocks covered with grass, lost in the dense mist caused by the impact of the water and, by comparison, insignificant, the opposite green walls into which numerous secondary falls precipitated. .

Secondary Fall, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

Secondary fall, where water and vegetation divide the cliff.

It is known that the fascination of the conqueror was ephemeral. Álvar Núñez was leading a small army that had left the island of Santa Catarina, off the Brazilian coast, to help the now Paraguayan village of Nuestra Señora de Asunción, surrounded by belligerent indigenous people.

Cabeza de Vaca quickly realized that he would have to cross the treacherous gorge that shelters the Iguaçu with all the military paraphernalia it was carrying. And it's more than likely that the opening words of appreciation gave way to the worst swear words he could think of.

The Modernized Iguassu Falls on the Brazilian Side

The ease of exploration today, from the Brazilian bank of the river, is absolute, even somewhat exaggerated.

Back on the ground, complementary structures and platforms allow us unexpected approaches to the open end of the huge Garganta do Diabo and to the base of the green cliffs on the Argentinean side, with a privileged view of the neighboring San Martin Island.

visitors to crosswalk, rainbow, iguacu falls, brazil, argentina

Visitors crowd at the end of a walkway, beside a glittering rainbow.

They are always competitive accesses to true natural showers and, on especially windy days, guarantee soaked returns.

From the Naipi space, we proceed to the Trilha das Cataratas, a shady path that climbs along the lush slope and unveils patches of the deep bed, through the vegetation or from viewpoints that are conquered from it.

The Panoramic Flight of the Greater Iguaçu

Once the possibilities of land and river exploration of the falls on the Brazilian side had been exhausted, we were left with the aerial variant. We didn't take long to experience it, aboard a panoramic helicopter.

The flight is confirmed to be short but intense. It allows us to discover the immensity of the Brazilian and Argentinean jungle. It follows the meandering of the Iguaçu River and its spread in the area surrounding the falls, identifiable as the only clear surface in an endless green area around it.

Iguacu River view, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

Aerial view of the Iguaçu River and the Iguaçu Falls.

Afterwards, we will also fly over the falls at low altitude, along the long and deep geological fault that originates them. From there, the muddy water changes from brownish tones to an intense white from which huge columns of mist ascend. Downstream from the falls, this gap, until then somewhat undefined, reveals the impressive dimensions and characteristics that justify the name Garganta do Diabo (Devil's Throat).

In the Baixo Iguaçu area, Argentina is only a few dozen meters from Brazil. With regard to conventional travel, outside the park, the passage from one country to another requires a 23km route from Foz do Iguaçu.

This route crosses the Presidente Tancredo Neves Bridge – painted with the colors of the Argentine and Brazilian flags. After the complex border logistics, it enters the province of Missions along Ruta 12, where it goes to km 5.

Salto San Martin, Palm Trees, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

Palm trees dominate the Iguaçu Falls, with the island of San Martin in the background.

The falls are unevenly divided between Brazil and Argentina.

The Argentines own most of the flow of the Iguaçu River. On the other hand, the Iguaçu National Park is bigger than the Argentine one. On both sides of the border, wildlife is very rich, including the area of ​​the falls where the easiest animals to spot are the coatis.

In groups, the coatis invade support areas and buildings in search of food that they are used to demanding from tourists. The remaining animals, mainly mammals, are, as a rule, furtive. As it's supposed to, in an environment like all real jungles, it's dense and dark.

The Iguaçu National Park hides dangerous species such as pumas and jaguars. Whenever you doubt your presence, remember that, in 1997, a jaguar (as the Brazilians call it) killed the son of a Brazilian ranger.

The Much More Natural Argentine Side of Iguazu Falls

Right at the entrance to Parque Nacional del Iguazú, we noticed an ecological approach that was much more respectful than the Brazilian one. The strategy (we preferred to believe in intentionality) was to change as little as possible.

visitors over waters, iguacu falls, brazil, argentina

Visitors walk along a walkway over the waters of the Iguaçu River.

We come across insignificant wooden reception buildings. From there, we followed a long “avenue” flanked by tall grass from which the three main existing routes branch out into the middle of the jungle: Paseos Inferiores (1.5 km), Paseos Superiores (1.2 km) and the Gorge – now in its Hispanic version – del Diabo.

We advance along a combination of minimal rails, here and there reinforced by suspended iron walkways.

The Paseos Inferiores offer a privileged view of the Two Sisters, Pequeña, Ramirez, Bossetti, Bernabé Méndez, Mbiguá and Adao y Eva falls from their bases.

On the upper circuit, we pass behind these secondary waterfalls in a harsh environment of an even more dense jungle overflown by toucans and which suggests the imminence of the large mottled or black cats – as their melanism dictates – that patrol these places.

Toucan, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

A toucan, one of the birds that inhabit the jungle around the river and the Iguaçu falls.

The More than Diabolical Fall of the Garganta del Diablo

We left the incursion to the deadly threshold of the Garganta del Diablo for the end.

To get there, we took a small picturesque train to Puerto Canoas. From there, we walked along the 2200m walkway that crosses a considerable part of the bed of the Iguaçu River, on the outer side of one of the ends of the horseshoe.

We understand how, thanks to the centrifugal force to which the flow is subjected, this vast and marginal section of the bed escapes the wider precipice and feeds the remaining Argentine falls.

The walk takes place above the water, in a scenario removed from illusory calm, enriched by small islets covered with vegetation that further compartmentalize the river.

Onwards, as if everything else were a mere initiation ritual, the walkway opens onto a new observation platform and the roar becomes more deafening than in any other area of ​​the falls.

A few additional steps, we are faced with emptiness. We then unveil how the Iguaçu crashes into the abyss rei (about 150 meters high and 700 meters wide) with such violence that the impact causes a permanent cloud about 30 meters high.

Agua Grande Platform, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

A group of people admire the Devil's Throat from a platform on the Brazilian side of the falls.

And we are dazzled by the comings and goings of countless fearless swallows, on trips to and from their nests hidden in the depths of the cliffs.

More restrained on speed, some boats climb the canyon. They also temporarily disappear into the mist to show passengers the Garganta del Diablo in the most daring way possible, even so, far from the unconscious endeavors carried out in the first half of the XNUMXth century.

In the early tourist days of Iguaçu Falls, due to the lack of walkways and platforms, fearless visitors often hired a rowing boat and an oarsman. This one took them to the limit of the falls and, paddling like a madman against the current, there immobilized the vessel.

Meanwhile, the passengers had fun passing from one side of the boat to the other, taking photos, exchanging impressions and everything that that moment of absolute relaxation inspired them to do.

But any abuse of luck has its limits and the inevitable ended up happening. In 1938, the force of the flow beat the service rower. The maneuvering boat crashed with seven Germans on board. Nobody survived.

boat full of passengers, iguacu falls, brazil, argentina

Boat full of passengers challenges a drop at the base on Isla San Martin.

These demented challenges to death were banned. Instead boats with powerful engines challenge the bottom of other secondary jumps.

And the exclusivity of the jump returned to the great water of Iguaçu.

Sunset, Iguacu Falls, Brazil, Argentina

Sun sets beyond the Argentine bank of the Iguaçu River.

Passo do Lontra, Miranda, Brazil

The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

We are on the western edge of Mato Grosso do Sul but bush, on these sides, is something else. In an extension of almost 200.000 km2, the Brazil it appears partially submerged, by rivers, streams, lakes and other waters dispersed in vast alluvial plains. Not even the panting heat of the dry season drains the life and biodiversity of Pantanal places and farms like the one that welcomed us on the banks of the Miranda River.
manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.
Curitiba, Brazil

The High-Quality Life of Curitiba

It is not only the altitude of almost 1000 meters at which the city is located. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, the capital of Paraná has a quality of life and human development rating that make it a unique case in Brazil.
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Cascades and Waterfalls

Waterfalls of the World: Stunning Vertical Rivers

From the almost 1000 meters high of Angel's dancing jump to the fulminating power of Iguaçu or Victoria after torrential rains, cascades of all kinds fall over the Earth.

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwee

Livingstone's Thundering Gift

The explorer was looking for a route to the Indian Ocean when natives led him to a jump of the Zambezi River. The falls he found were so majestic that he decided to name them in honor of his queen
San Ignacio Mini, Argentina

The Impossible Jesuit Missions of San Ignacio Mini

In the century. In the XNUMXth century, the Jesuits expanded a religious domain in the heart of South America by converting the Guarani Indians into Jesuit missions. But the Iberian Crowns ruined the tropical utopia of the Society of Jesus.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Music Theater and Exhibition Hall, Tbilisi, Georgia
Architecture & Design
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Kente Festival Agotime, Ghana, gold
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kumasi to Kpetoe, Ghana

A Celebration-Trip of the Ghanian Fashion

After some time in the great Ghanaian capital ashanti we crossed the country to the border with Togo. The reasons for this long journey were the kente, a fabric so revered in Ghana that several tribal chiefs dedicate a sumptuous festival to it every year.
Glamor vs Faith
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Erika Mother

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Islamic silhouettes

Istanbul, Turkey

Where East meets West, Turkey Seeks its Way

An emblematic and grandiose metropolis, Istanbul lives at a crossroads. As Turkey in general, divided between secularism and Islam, tradition and modernity, it still doesn't know which way to go

View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Graciosa, Azores, Monte da Ajuda
Graciosa, Azores

Her Grace the Graciosa

Finally, we will disembark in Graciosa, our ninth island in the Azores. Even if less dramatic and verdant than its neighbors, Graciosa preserves an Atlantic charm that is its own. Those who have the privilege of living it, take from this island of the central group an esteem that remains forever.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Totem, Sitka, Alaska Travel Once Russia
Natural Parks
sitka, Alaska

Sitka: Journey through a once Russian Alaska

In 1867, Tsar Alexander II had to sell Russian Alaska to the United States. In the small town of Sitka, we find the Russian legacy but also the Tlingit natives who fought them.
Semeru (far) and Bromo volcanoes in Java, Indonesia
UNESCO World Heritage
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Indonesia

The Volcanic Sea of ​​Java

The gigantic Tengger caldera rises 2000m in the heart of a sandy expanse of east Java. From it project the highest mountain of this Indonesian island, the Semeru, and several other volcanoes. From the fertility and clemency of this sublime as well as Dantesque setting, one of the few Hindu communities that resisted the Muslim predominance around, thrives.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Tobago, Pigeon Point, Scarborough, Pontoon
Scarborough a Pigeon Point, Tobago

Probing the Capital Tobago

From the walled heights of Fort King George, to the threshold of Pigeon Point, southwest Tobago around the capital Scarborough reveals unrivaled controversial tropics.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Rottnest Island, Wadjemup, Australia, Quokkas
Wadjemup, Rottnest Island, Australia

Among Quokkas and other Aboriginal Spirits

In the XNUMXth century, a Dutch captain nicknamed this island surrounded by a turquoise Indian Ocean, “Rottnest, a rat's nest”. The quokkas that eluded him were, however, marsupials, considered sacred by the Whadjuk Noongar aborigines of Western Australia. Like the Edenic island on which the British colonists martyred them.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.