There are few waterfalls as majestic as Iguazu or Iguaçu, the Portuguese spelling, the renowned Falls along the border of Argentina and Brazil. The Falls are actually anywhere from 160 to 275 separate cascades (depending on the water level) with heights of roughly 263 feet (80 metres). Sometimes also spelled Iguassu, the name of the falls comes from a Guarani Indian word meaning great water.
An average of approximately 53,000 cubic feet (1,500 cubic metres) of water flows over Iguazu Falls each second. The subtropical rainforest surrounding the falls contains more than 2,000 species of vascular plants and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including toucans, parrots, and more than 400 other species of birds; tapirs; jaguars; ocelots; giant anteaters; howler monkeys; coatis; a variety of lizards, and countless butterflies. The falls and the surrounding forest are protected in national parks on both sides of the border: Parque Nacional Iguazu in Argentina and Parque Nacional do Iguaçu in Brazil. Both parks have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Brazilian side of the falls offers a more panoramic view than the close up on the Argentine side, with a walkway that descends on to a catwalk over the falls, allowing guests to really get a sense of the power of the rushing water (prepare for a soaking if you choose to go all the way out). From the end of the main walkway, an elevator whisks guests back up to street level at the top of the cliff (theres also a trail up to the street for those who prefer not to wait in line for the lift).
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