São Paulo, Foz do Iguaçu and Florianopolis: Part 2

May 11, 2015

In my previous post, I talked about São Paulo, the huge megacity of Brazil. In this post, I’m going to focus on Foz do Iguaçu, a massive collection of waterfalls that touches three countries and puts Niagara Falls to shame.

When Eleanor Roosevelt visited the falls in 1944, she took one look and said “poor Niagara.” Coming from Rochester, New York I thought I had seen some big waterfalls. The state has plenty of them and Niagara, an easy 1 hour drive away, is known around the world but none of them, in fact not even all of them COMBINED, come close to what we saw at Foz do Iguaçu.

Photo_Teague_FozDoIguacu-2.jpg Photo_Teague_FozDoIguacu-1.jpg
A small portion of the many cascades found at the 
Iguacu Falls. 
Standing right next to the edge of the falls that make
up the devils throat. 

The falls at Foz do Iguaçu are the combination of the Iguaçu and San Antonio rivers. The water rushes over the falls from a gigantic area where it almost seems that the rivers blend into a massive basin and spill over the edges on three sides of a huge ravine. Imagine the letter “J” upside down and you have a rough idea of the outline of the falls. What’s really amazing though is that the falls are broken up into small, medium and large waterfalls with “The Devils Throat” making up the biggest waterfall. To make it even better, in many areas there are double and sometimes triple cascades. In other words, the water falls to a plateau where it collects up and then falls again. Two waterfalls for the price of one!

A stunning panorama with the Devil's Throat to the left.

You can view the falls from Brazil or Argentina, but with most of the falls being on the Argentine side, we decided to view them from Brazil. That being said, Argentina has done a pretty darn good job of making the most of their side by adding long boardwalks that allow you to walk over the falls and get some truly amazing views. Brazil has done the same, but not to such an extent as Argentina. Anyway, the views are incredible. You go to an excellent nature park and begin a walk from viewing point to viewing point getting closer and closer to the grand finale that is (read this next part in a deep echoing voice) “The Devil’s Throat!” At the first viewing point you’re blown away by the size and beauty of the place and then, at every viewing point that follows, you are even more blown away.

Looking up river, the falls stretch out in both

At the end of the whole thing, you reach (again with the deep echo voice) “The Devils Throat.” It’s similar to the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara but like one hundred times better. What’s really amazing is the boardwalk that you can take right out to the edge of the falls by walking along the edge of one cascade above you out over another smaller set of falls and finally to the edge of a large raging waterfall that drops down into the ravine. Sure you can walk up next to the falls at Niagara but you can’t walk over the edge right in the middle of the falls.

Another thing worth seeing at Foz do Igauçu, which we actually missed, is the Itaipu Dam, the worlds largest hydroelectric dam. The dam is quite large and produces 75% of the power used in Paraguay and 17% of the power used in Brazil by using the force of the river and twenty 700MW turbines. You can see it for free in some places and take tours of it. If we had planned our time a little differently I would have had this at the top of my list but we were kind of in a rush to get to our next destination which you’ll read about in Part 3 of this post.

So, to wrap up this post I’ll simply say that you MUST see Iguaçu Falls if you ever find yourself in Brazil or Argentina. If you have the time, visit the dam as well. Also, the next post in this three part series will talk about our fourth destination in Brazil, Florianopolis. This place is a beach lover’s paradise where Brazil’s wealthy comes to vacation and relax during the summer. 

Category: Places

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