Raging Waters

Waterfalls So Extensive They Create Their Own Climate

Waterfalls So Extensive They Create Their Own Climate

Probably the most spectacular destination on my recent trip to South America was Iguazu Falls. For a panoramic view of the falls, one would have to visit the Brazilian side and pay $160 as a “reciprocity fee,” without guaranteeing that I would get a visa in time. So I opted for the Argentinian side, where I could cozy up to a number of the cataracts, either from the top or bottom.

Iguazu is in the State of Misiones, which juts like a narrow finger into the jungles of Southern Brazil. And, just a few miles to the west is the border with Paraguay at Ciudad del Este.

In the past, I had avoided visiting the falls because I was afraid of contracting a mosquito-borne disease such as malaria, dengue, or chikungunya. Imagine my shock when I saw no mosquitoes near the falls: Apparently the waterfalls, which can range up to 9,500 feet wide depending on water volume, create their own climate of swirling mists.

Most of the water squeezes through at a place called the Garganta del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Throat.” Standing near where the water rushes down is an awe-inspiring (and very wet) experience. But it is eminently worth it!

I spent two days visiting the Iguazu National Park. Looking back, I would have to consider it the single most impressive place I visited this year in Argentina and Chile.