26 wanderlust.co.uk September 2019
IguazúNationalParkishometoanastounding 275 waterfalls.Withnewflightslaunching,it’seven
Making a splash
Iguazú Falls are one
of the seven natural
wonders of the world
Alamy; Shutterstock, Dreamstime
ou hear Argentina’s
Iguazú Falls before
you clock eyes on
them. Clouded by
a thick mist, the
falling cascades shatter into plunge
pools, thundering an unmistakable
roar that leaves travellers silent.
They’ve always exerted a strong
pull, though, beckoning over
a million visitors last year to see its
narrow chasms and milky abysses,
unshy of performing an elemental
drama to a captive audience.
Divided between the Argentine
and Brazilian border – with more
of it on the former’s side – these
natural wonders have a long history.
The Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez
Cabeza de Vaca seemingly spotted
them first in 1541; Iguazú National
Park came into being nearly four
centuries later, in order to protect
the falls and surrounding jungle,
packed with around 2,000 species
of endemic flora. You can take
a 4x4 ride into this rainforest,
too, and glimpse howler monkeys
and giant anteaters.
A good place to start, though, is
the walking trails. Stroll down the
Lower Circuit, first; here, you’ll see
a sweeping view of all the falls,
including the Three Musketeers,
San Martín and Salto Bossetti. Go
west for the Upper Circuit route,
which overlooks the cascading falls
on elevated walkways. Butterflies
wheel around you as you make
your way through; you’ll also spot
specks of great dusky swifts nipping
through the water, and sharp-
toothed coatis and crocodiles
making the most of shaded spots.
Then prepare to be swallowed
up by Garganta Del Diablo (Devil’s
Throat): a horseshoe-shaped
canyon that offers a panoramic
view of the largest of all 275 falls.
You can get an eco-train from the
Upper Circuit here, or walk next to
the railway track as the belly of the
basin beneath slowly reveals itself.
Speedboats take you into the
heart of these 80-metre-high falls,
too – you’ll get soaked as you dash
through hairpin turns and gushing
cataracts. Legend has it that a
serpent-like sea god turned two
lovers who scorned him into a large
rock and a palm tree here, cleaving
the river in half to divide them on
different sides. Today, you might
just see them united by a rainbow.
and feel the spray!