The vengeance of a god that created the breathtaking Iguazu Falls

A jet boat creeps closer to the waterfall

The thunderous roar of millions of gallons of water spilling over the skyscraper-high cliff and crashing into the frothy river below builds to an earsplitting crescendo as our jet-powered boat edges towards one of the most jaw-droppingly spectacular set of falls in the World.

Full throttle engaged, the captain battles against the ferocious current until nature claims its inevitable victory and our vessel is pinned to a spot some 20 metres away from the fast falling ribbons of white.

Looking out over the falls from the Brazilian side

Within seconds our clothes are saturated as the ‘Devil’s Throat’ coughs up a stream of icy liquid and fires it in the direction of his latest victims.

It’s too loud to hear one another, but conversation is redundant, words would add nothing to the awesome visual spectacle in front of us.

Yet this amazing sight is just one of a staggering 275 waterfalls situated in Iguazu national park, a sub-tropical jungle spanning Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

One of the most incredible views I have ever witnessed, the two miles of tumbling, gushing natural showers more than merit their place on the Seven Wonders of the Natural World list.

Scores of waterfalls skirt away into the distance

The falls take their name from the language of the semi-nomadic Guaranís who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century – ‘y’ meaning ‘water’ and ‘ûasú’ meaning ‘big’.

Folklore has it that a God wanted to marry a beautiful woman by the name of Naipi, but she fled with her lover Tarobá in a canoe.

Not at all happy with this turn of events, the god split the river in two, creating the waterfalls and condemning the young lovers to an eternal fall.

Yet another waterfall, this time on the Argentinian side

While I prefer to believe this story, the geographical theory is that the falls formed about 200,000 years ago when an earthquake thrusted rock upwards to create a horse-shoe shaped cliff that the Iguazu River had to spill over to continue its march to the Atlantic Ocean.

The falls are still on the move, thanks to different erosion rates between the layers of sandstone and basalt below the river floor. They retreat by 3mm every year, with the original Iguazu falls believed to have been situated 30 miles downstream.

The Iguazu River carves out the border between Argentina and Brazil, and both countries jostle for the best vantage point crown.

Border crossing number eight, from Paraguay to Brazil

Our first viewing was to be on the Brazilian side, but first we had to get back into the country.

I wanted to cross the border on foot, so after getting our Paraguayan exit stamps we walked the mile across the bridge spanning the Paraná river.

After some disconcerting debate featuring grunts, raised eye brows and considerable checking of our dirty real life faces against dog-eared passports, immigration officials decided to let us return to our favourite country in South America and we entered the small town of Foz.

Yum! Eating the delicious Amazonian fruity mush dish Acai back in Brazil

It was great to be back in Brazil, even if only for a night – the language, culture, food and people are so different to the rest of the continent.

From this side of the Iguazu River boardwalked paths high above fast-flowing waters offer the chance to see the ‘big picture’.

Seemingly never ending lines of waterfalls curve away towards the horizon all around us. Brightly coloured butterflies and camouflaged lizards steer clear of the chilly depths to instead soak up the sun in temperatures pushing 40 degrees.

A butterfly relaxes in the sun while taking in the majestic view

An elevator takes us higher up the cliff to yet another viewing point.

It’s crowded and very touristy, and ironically despite there being water all around us the price for a bottle of agua mineral is extortionate.

Crowds of tourists at the foot of an imposing waterfall

Yet despite the masses and the rip off costs, the view is breathtaking.

At night we catch a bus across the border to Argentina and the following day we get right into the heart of the falls.

After the thrilling jet-boat ride we take a train to a kilometre-long boardwalk.

We wind our way past sunbathing crocodiles and turtles before skirting above the tipping points of half a dozen waterfalls.

There’s water at the end of that there rainbow!

The path culminates with a stunning up close and personal view of the Devil’s Throat, the biggest waterfall in Iguazu which swallows up and carries half the river’s flow.

Such is the force of the glacial-coloured water as it plummets over the edge, that giant white mist clouds form and as the the light from the scorching sun above refracts through the fine droplets of rain scores of rainbows surround us.

Words, really can’t do it justice, it truly is one of nature’s most beautiful sights.

In front of the Devil’s Throat

About travellingtoothbrushes

We are a couple of journalists with restless toothbrushes. Our teeth scrubbers seem unable to leap out of their respective washbags to take up a permanent residency on the bathroom shelf. So, we've decided to let them live the way they want to and take them on a trip around South America...
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3 Responses to The vengeance of a god that created the breathtaking Iguazu Falls

  1. 1 Word – AMAZING. Beautiful place and beautiful photos – what an experience:) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pete says:

    Computer fixed in time to read this thrilling blog. Still wondering if you have reached the tip of South America yet! Off to Oz on Monday.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Problemas de computadoras estan mundial !!!! We just got our internet connection sorted out and are back on line following the toothbrushes on the journey,,, Awesome photos… nice story on mennonites in paraguay,, i think there is an “Australia” in uraguay somewhere as well.. group moved there in the 30s to set up paradise !
    If you guys find paradise let me know… Kris O

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