OVERVIEW OF IGUASSU FALLS
The word Iguaçu means “big water” in Tupi-Guarani etymology. The falls are formed by the falls of the Iguaçu River. Eighteen kilometers before joining the Paraná River, the Iguaçu wins an unevenness of the ground and rushes when dropped up to 80 meters high, reaching a width of 2780 meters. Its geological formation dating from about 150 million years ago, but the formation of the landform of the falls began approximately 200,000 years ago.
The Iguaçu River measures 1200 meters wide above the falls. Below is a close up to 65m channel. The total width of the Falls on the Brazilian territory is approximately 800m and 1900m on the Argentine side. The height of the falls varies between 40-80 metros. Depending on the river flow, the number of hops varies, reaching a higher number to 100 during periods of average flow.
The average flow of the river is around 1,500 m3 per second, ranging from 500 m3 / s in times of drought and 8.500 m3 / s when heavy. The larger volume of water occurs between the months from October to March, however the record of the highest flow has reached the volume of 46,000 m3 per second in June 2014, just before the world cup kick-off.
The main falls are 19, five on the Brazilian side (Floriano, Deodoro and Benjamin Constant, Santa Maria and Union) and the others on the Argentine side. The arrangement of heels, with most of them in Argentina and Brazil facing side, provides the best view for those who observe the scenery from Brazil. Both sides have to be discovered. Iguassu falls.
WHEN TO GO TO IGUASSU FALLS
The first thing to do before you plan a trip to Foz do Iguaçu is also thinking in the way you prefer to find the falls. If the idea is to see the waterfalls at its maximum volume and with much potential, go in the summer (November to March); if, instead, you prefer to see the beauty of more defined waterfalls, it is best to go in the winter (June to September). If you can not choose the date of travel, do not worry: the falls are an amazing spectacle all year.
In winter (June to September), with temperatures averaging 18 ° C, the chance to catch rainfall is lower, especially in the months of June, July and August. The situation is exactly the opposite in the summer, which, besides presenting an average of 26 ° C, has a large rainfall, causing a sharp increase in the flow of waterfalls. September and October historically are months with high rainfall and reasonable temperatures. The same rule applies to see the opened gates of Itaipu – the chances are higher in the summer.
The fear of getting have to be considered, because even if there is no rain, it is inevitable because of the vapor emanating from the falls. Go to the parks with rain cover, but know that by doing the boat trips, the protections are useless.
Foz do Iguaçu receive tourists throughout the year, but mainly in the holiday months (July, December and January), tourism is even more intense. Whatever the time of year, just as there is a holiday and the city and the parks are full of people.
The Cataratas Airport, or Foz do Iguaçu airport, is the most important means of arrival of Brazilian tourists to the city. The small airport is just over 10 km from the city center and is currently responsible for making not only domestic flights, but also international. Its main flights are to Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
An important note for those using the airport in Foz do Iguaçu to return home: prior to boarding, the passenger will have to make the customs procedures and move their belongings by rays X. If you made shopping in Ciudad del Este, the limit is $ 300.
Alternatively travelers can rely on the airport of Puerto Iguazu (IGR), the Argentine border town that is also a strong tourist destination.
Paraguayan side, the access can be made by Guarani International Airport (AGT), which has direct flights with TAM, departing from Guarulhos, in São Paulo.
To get to Iguassu falls by bus, tourists have the services of companies like Itapemirim, Pluma and St. Gerard. Considering the road time to reach the final destination, it is recommended to consult the values of airlines as it often can compensate the time spent in he bus.
WHAT TO DO IN IGUASSU FALLS
Iguassu falls has a lot to offer. We will divide the activities in 4 different families: Brazilian side, Argentinian side, ITaipus tourism complex and night life and shows.
BRAZILIAN PARK of the FALLS
The tour begins at the reception center for visitors, embark on a modern panoramic bus or on private van, you will contemplate fauna and flora to the Falls. As the bus approaches, the sound of the falls will arise and surprise you.
MACUCO SAFARI BOAT TRIP
One of the most sought tour in Iguassu Performed inside the Iguaçu National Park, the tour takes visitors on an adventure under the falls of Iguaçu Falls. The tour begins at the gate, where adventurers embark on carts pulled by electric vehicles developed for this tour that aims at integration of respect between human and nature.
The Bird Park is a private park, created in 1994, it has a 1500 meters path paved, among the native trees. Are cataloged more than nine hundred birds of 150 species that make this park an orchestra of sounds. You wills pass through and get very close to birds like the beautiful toucans who pose for the cameras. A enchanting walk through the forest.
HELICOPTER TOUR over IGUASSU FALLS
2 fantastic itineraries ranging 10 to 30 minutes long trips. The prime location on the helicopter offers unforgettable postcards of the waterfalls new angles. A great experience that can be shared up to 3 people per craft.
For adventurous travelers can not miss the tour of the Banana Trail. A trail amid magnificent subtropical forest in the Iguaçu National Park. A journey of 2 km extension that allows visitors contact with the environment, especially for bird watching. At the end of the trail, a ride on the upper Iguaçu River (calm waters) to head off to the archipelago of islands Taquaras.
POÇO PRETO TRAIL
Mountains and waterfalls in Arraial do Sana is justified by the natural beauty of the region: rivers, waterfalls and mountains that surround the town. An ideal spot for hikers and those who enjoy river rafting and abseiling in Macae stone pigeon breast.
It consists of a walk tour to through thr Martin trail, with the aim of contact and contemplation of the nature. Then you´ll embark for a boat ride down the river with a stop to the Taquara island a a visit at the ‘Casa-Mata’ lookout and the bananeira station with 3 options to end this tour.
RAFTING DOWN the IGUAÇU RIVER
Rafting is tour full of sensations. A thrilling descent through rapids that leave you in touch with nature in an exciting way. The activity consists of a navigation down the Iguaçu river using inflatable boats that pass by rapids and calm waters, where it is possible to swim. The inflatable boats can accommodate up to ten people
ECO ADVENTURE FLOATING
This tour is made on totally quiet inflatable boats similar to rafting. Departing from Porto Bananeiras arriving at porto Canoas. The aim of the tour is contemplation of the forest and the existing aquatic species.
PORTO CANOAS EXCURSIONS
Short boat trip of approximately 20 min. Boarding at returning to Porto Canoas, with observation of the scenisc mupper iguassu above the waterfalls.
IGUASSU by BIKE
Daily departure from the gate of the Iguaçu National park, the Avenue of the falls, with 25km route. In thye park, you can enbjoy and photograph up close the native flora and fauna of the region of the cataratas do Iguaçu.
ARGENTINIAN PARK of the FALLS
Most of the Iguassuu Falls are in Argentina. Thereby providing a unique experience to visit the Falls in Argentina. You can feel the falls much closer and almost touch tthem. Rediscover the Iguaçu Falls with a totally different view. The privileged position of the Argentine park, provides to stay much closer to the hundreds of waterfalls, including the famous Devil’s Throat 80 meters tall.
GRAN AVENTURA BOAT TRIP
The Gran aventura takes you to meet the Iguaçu Falls from a new view, but no less entrancing. It all starts with a wonderful track by the Iguazú National Park. It’s a ride in in special and very safe boat, much like Macuco boat trip in the Brazilian side, but what passes for exclusive places like Martín Island. The thrill is indescribable, like the bath you take under the falls.
The JESUITE RUINS of SAN IGNACIO
Visit the ruins of San Ignacio, located 250 kilometers from Iguassu Falls. There the Jesuits founded the Guarani Republic, which flourished in the seventeenth century. Visit the communal houses, churches and buildings, with their baroque traits and numerous stone sculptures now invaded by the jungle.
Depart from the devil´s throat station in inflatable rowboats for a floating safari in the calm waters of the upper Iguassu. The boats slowly float through the in-numerous small islands and you will appreciate the thriving fauna and flora.
Take the Yacaratiá Trail through the Argentinian park. This trail is not open to the general public. Our two-hour trip is aboard a special 4×4 truck that allows an unhindered view of the tropical rainforest with its impressive trees and epiphytes (air plants) such as orchids, cacti, bromeliaceae, giant philodendrons.
PANORAMIC VISIT of the DAM
The Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant is one of the most ambitious engineering projects in the world. A colossal power plant that provides 16.4% of the energy consumed in Brazil and supplies 71.3% of the Paraguayan consumption. Constructed to contain the flow of the Paraná River, the dam is a massive concrete structure of eight kilometers long by 167 meters height, which skirts the reservoir of Itaipu and on which are installed the pipelines and electricity generator units.
SPECIAL CIRCUIT of the DAM
This is an exclusive visit of the plant with a special presentation of the inside of the power station. You´ll visit the heart of the monumental construction.
BIOLOGICAL REFUGE BELA VISTA
Created in the 70s, due to the displacement of some animals due to the construction of the Itaipu dam, the refuge’s environmental reference inform people about environmental preservation and conservation of the ecosystem. The site can not be considered as a zoo, but rather as an essential point in environmental preservation, as more than 35 species of animals have been reproduced in the refuge and displaced to their natural habitat.
ECO-MUSEUM IN IGUASSU FALLS
Besides all the history that this place preserves, the museum displays archaeological and palaeontological models and scenarios faithful to the past. The visitor travels back in time while touring the museum. There are various presentations ranging from the occupation of the Itaipu dam projects to Itaipu region’s environmental conservation.
The Astronomy center belongs to the Itaipu dam Tourist Complex and is a place where the visitor can admire the constellations and planets. The pole has Astronomical observatory and planetarium. Talks about the curiosities of the art of observation of the sky. With a dome of 6 meters in diameter, visitors observe planets, stars and some galaxies. Soon after, the groups move to the observation of telescopes and Space Universe museum.
The LIGHTING of the ITAIPU DAM
The nighttime tours in Iguassu are always fascinating, because tyou are awarded a new point of view of the great attractions already known, but at night. The lighting of the dam of Itaipu Dam is one example. All concrete dam of the plant has more than 500 spotlights and luminaries. On full moon nights the ride becomes even more attractive.
ELECTRIC CAR TEST DRIVE
Itaipu has participated to the development of the eletric vehicles and offers ‘Test drives’. Participants will have the unique experience of driving a silent zero impact vehicle in an incredible setting – hte world´s largest power station!
KATTAMARAM PORT IN IGUASSU FALLS
Ideal for relaxing and taking in the gorgeous scenery, the Port Kattamaram meets comfort and elegance for a memorable journey through the wonders of the reservoir of the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. The tour takes as its point of departure the Port Kattamaram, a space built especially for the attraction, with pier, deck and a restaurant with a view of the lake from Itaipu. The boat sails bordering the impressive Itaipu dam, approximately 8km long, joining Brazil and Paraguay.
SHOPPING in ARGENTINA
On the return trip in Argentina, visit the commercial center of Puerto Iguazú with its leather goods, cashmere and woolen wear, cosmetics and edibles.
SHOPPING in PARAGUAY
By crossing the picturesque friendship Bridge you reach Ciudade Del Este, Paraguay. Plenty of time is allowed for shopping for duty-free imported goods and local handicrafts.
SPECIALIZED AGRO-TECHNICAL VISITS
Iguassu is located in one of Brazil´s most important grain and livestock producing regions where the level of agricultural technology is very advanced with the development of special techniques ans research od interest to both local and foreign visitors.
NAVIGATION ON THE PARANÁ and IGUASSU RIVERS
Departure in direction of the Cataratas Yacht Club, where we board modern boasts with experienced pilots for uan unforgettable trip on the Paraná River observing the International Friendship Bridge, Acaray island, the Itaipu Dam, and the three borders. On board refreshment included.
Board at porto Meira in motor skiffs equipped with special sonar, tackle and live bait. The current and depth of the river facilitate the catching of Dourado salmon, pacú, surubim.
Enjoy the view from the observation deck at the ‘Meeting of the waters’ of the Iguassu and Paraná rivers and Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay form the Three Borders. Three stones markers dating from 1916 desigante the territory of each country.
The elegant and modern Casino Iguazú is located just across the border from Brazil. Time for playing and entertainment.
IPORÃ NIGHT SHOW
Originating in the Tupi-Guarani, the name reflects the beauty of the waters, represented here by a presentation that demonstrates the cultural diversity of nine countries of Latin America. The show begins with a musical reinterpretation of the legend of the falls, where Naipi and Taborá are punished by living a forbidden love.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR IGUASSU FALLS
What to consider before traveling?
- Be sure to travel to Iguassu falls with visa and valid passport. To go beyond the city border and visit Argentina and Paraguay, you may need to have a valid document, a visa or to pay the reciprocity fee to cross the border.
- The threshold for purchases in Paraguay is $ 300 per month. Both the Friendship Bridge and output of Foz airport the traveler is subject to undergo an inspection to see if the limit was not exceeded. If the value of purchases overlaps the limit, you may have to pay 50% of surplus.
- Do not believe indications restaurants and tours. In Iguassu falls and around many people earn commission for giving directions, so suggested places for self-interest are not always because they are really cool for the tourist.
- Traveling in winter, put heavier clothes in the suitcase; if it is summer, abuse of fresh clothes. Do not forget comfortable clothes and shoes for hiking, especially on the day to visit Iguazú Park.
- If you take the trip to visit Argentina or Paraguay, be sure to take home some alfajores biscuit, quite popular in the region.
- In case your trip is extended to Buenos Aires or another city in Argentina, consider buying pesos in Iguassu falls, which has a much better price than the capital of tango.
- For the Argentine side of the falls you will need to purchase pesos. You can buy them at customs or exchange houses in Iguassu falls, where a great quote. Credit card are however accepted.