Voted as one of the seven wonders of nature and considered the most beautiful waterfall in the world, Iguazu Falls is located in Argentina and Brazil. Here are 9 interesting facts about this amazing waterfall.
Iguazu means ‘big water’ in English
When translated into English, the word Iguazu roughly means ‘big water’. The Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil before its confluence with the San Antonio River. Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of this river located on the border of Brazilian state Parana and Argentine province Misiones. The falls divide the river into upper and lower Iguazu.
The Waterfall was formed due to a volcanic eruption but a legend says otherwise…
Iguazu Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption which left a large crack in the earth. Legend says that a god wanted to marry a beautiful girl named Naipi against her will. She tried to escape with her mortal Taroba in a hand carved canoe on the river. When the god found out he was so outraged that he split the river into two so that the two would be condemned to an eternal fall and thus Iguazu Falls were created.
In 1541, Cabeza de Vaca became the first European to discover the Iguazu Falls
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer who was appointed governor of Rio de la Plata, a colony in South America which comprised parts of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In 1541, Cabeza de Vaca led an expedition through the south of present-day Brazil to Asuncion, the capital of Rio de la Plata. On the way, he became the first European to discover the Iguazu Falls.
Iguazu Falls is the sixth largest waterfall in the world
Iguazu Falls stretches along 2.7 kilometers of the river and consists of 275 discrete waterfalls. It is the sixth largest waterfall in the world by mean annual flow rate. Niagara Falls in North America is fifth on the list. However Igauzu is more than twice the width, and nearly twice the height of Niagara.
The Devil’s Throat is the most spectacular part of the falls
Of the 275 falls, the most impressive is a U-shaped cataract marking the border between Argentine and Brazil, and nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Throat’. The Devil’s Throat is U-shaped, 82 metres high, 150 m wide, 700 m long and about half of the river’s flow falls into it. It is the most recognizable and popular section of the falls. As the water falls into the Devil’s throat is lets out a deep roar and a huge amount of mist.
80% of the waterfalls in Iguazu lie in Argentina
Approximately 80% of the falls in Iguazu lie in Argentina with Brazil accounting for the remaining 20%. Apart from Devil’s Throat, many other falls have also been given names. One of the falls in Argentine has been named after Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who in 1541 became the first European to discover the falls. Others like San Martín Falls and Bossetti Falls have been given names by the places where they are located.
Iguazu Falls was voted as one of the seven natural wonders
According to a global poll conducted by New7Wonders Foundation which attracted 100 million votes, Iguazu Falls was named as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature on November 11, 2011. Iguazu Falls was the only waterfall to emerge as the winner though Angel Falls in Venezuela, which is the world’s highest waterfall, was among the finalists.
The region around the falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1987, respectively.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s reaction on seeing Iguazu Falls…
Iguazu Falls are widely considered the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Visitors are often overwhelmed by their sheer magnificence. At one point along the edge of the falls, an observer can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. On her first site of the Iguazu Falls, the United States first lady Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed: “Poor Niagara!”