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?
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.
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.
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.
SLOTH IN A CLOTH
During our boat trip from Manaus deep inside the Amazon, we came across a father-and-son team with an anaconda and a sloth, both wrapped in cloths. They were simply showing them around to curious souls, whoever took the time to stop and cuddle these animals. We couldn't know however whether the baby sloth was in distress or relieved to find a safe refuge with the boy after its habitat destruction.
THE AMAZONIAN FAMILY
We met this high-spirited little girl in a remote village in the Amazon rainforest. At the time the picture was taken, she was busy playing with her younger brother. The only access to her home was by navigating in a canoe on the Amazon, a few hours' journey from the town of Manaus.
The rhea is a species of flightless bird native to South America most closely related to the ostrich (in Africa) and the emu (in Australia). Although listed as near threatened, they seemed to be quite prolific in the wetlands of Pantanal, in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil.
THE LONG HIKE
The hike up in the summer sun was too much for the rest of the younger members of the family, so only the solo photographer limped along, and was rewarded with this view after an arduous trek.