The Many-Mouthed Monster

 

Jaw-dropping! Eye-popping! Ear-piercing! Heart-stopping! Mind-bending! 
Unless these physical attributes literally materialize in you (in which case you’re probably not reading this), you’ll likely be gushing out adjectives such as these the first time you see the mighty Iguazú Falls.

I’m sure you’ve seen many waterfalls in your life. Maybe you’ve even seen pictures of Iguazú and tried to imagine how it would feel to stand in front of it. But trust us, nothing prepares you for that immensity. Iguazú is a waterfall on steroids. Seeing it for the first time can truly be an emotional ordeal. So, don’t worry – it’s not you. How else is a human supposed to react when coming face to face with the almighty?

Up close, Iguazú falls looks different from separate vantage points due to the many varied and diverse number of sizes and shapes in the huge width that it covers. The water gushing out of the waterfall is enough to fill up six Olympic-sized swimming pools, every second. Unlike the Niagara, here they will take you right under the falls if you’re brave enough to opt for a boat ride. You can even reach the falls much closer, as seen in this image of our three daughters posing for a heart-thumping shot almost within an arm’s reach of the Iguazú.

Poor Niagara!

 

Even the former first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, upon seeing the true enormity of the falls up close had purportedly exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!” Indeed, you can multiply the Niagara Falls in both its height and width a few times, but you’d still fall short of the volume of water that spews out of Iguazú. A many-mouthed monster, the waters of Iguazú (also spelled Iguaçu) emerge out of 275 separate falls! Even though you can’t see the entire falls from any vantage point, you can make out the cascading mist as far as your eyes can see. 

Iguazú Falls borders three countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay. On the Brazilian side, the easiest way to visit is by flying down to the town of Foz do Iguaçu. Once there, head straight over to the falls. And don’t forget to take the boat ride that takes you right to the base of this nature’s incredible wonder. While it’s true that the Argentinian side takes you closer to the action, and gets you drenched in the process, the Brazilian side is known for giving you the best panoramic views of the falls. If you plan on getting the entire falls within your picture frame, don’t forget that ultrawide lens.

The boat ride was the highlight of our visit to the Iguazú Falls. Unlike in the case of Niagara Falls, this boat will in fact take you right inside the pouring waters of the falls. Even though the water was quite rough, and the pilot resorted to a number of cool antics, safety was never an issue, and we didn’t feel at risk.
Tourists can get extremely close to the waterfalls, and with absolutely chaotic waters rushing all around you, you can be forgiven if you feel like the floods of Genesis is upon you. Iguazú is one of the greatest spectacles on the planet, and these can give you two distinct feelings depending whether you see it from the Brazilian or the Argentinian side. The first gives you better panoramic views of the waterfalls, while the second takes you right up to it.

 

A Package Deal

 

A visit to Iguazú is in fact a buy-one-get-one-free deal, where along with the grandeur of the waterfalls itself, you get to see a rainforest teeming with quite several unique flora and fauna. The two animals you won’t miss seeing here are the pesky coatis and the clever capuchins. There are even jaguars and crocodiles in the region although it would be difficult to see those due to the constant wave of visitors. But you should take the time to explore the wildlife here, so ideally plan on three days to spend here. The extra time will also give you a buffer in case torrential rain washes off a day from your meticulous travel plans. Such rainfall is a common theme that ties the gifts of nature tightly together.

The fast-flowing waters of Iguazú is a sight to behold. You’d need the highest shutter speed to freeze those water droplets. Where possible, I use sixteen-thousandths of a second. Of course, for this you’d need the light to cooperate. In my case it did, and I got some of the best abstract images, with those beads frozen in time and space.

 

Live and Get Wet

Unless you’re the type who absolutely hates getting soaked, something that’ll stay indelible in your memory for the rest of your life is the boat ride to the base of the waterfalls. And yes, take care of those electronics before you get on the boat: they will take you right inside those falls (it’s safe, so don’t worry). One great thing about Iguazú is that there are so many waterfalls around: some gigantic and powerful, while others small and graceful, and you’ll get to see them all up close. The appropriately named Devil’s Throat is the largest one of these, a true monster.