Cascading over the borders of Argentina and Brazil, Iguassu is a Guarani word, which translates as 'big water', which is a bit of an understatement as the falls are 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) wide.
The Falls is a result of the Iguassu River cascading over the Paraná Plateau.
There are actually about 275 separate waterfalls ranging from 200 to 270 (60 and 82 metres) in height and numerous islands along the falls. Part of the falls tumbles into the Garganta do Diabo
, meaning the 'Devil's Throat', and the most notable island is Isla Grande San Martin
, on the Argentine side of the Falls.
As a result of the many falls and the inevitable curtain of mist, there are often numerous rainbows. Tourists are permitted to walk across the catwalks over the falls to get a better look of them. They can also take a helicopter ride over the falls, or take a boat up the Iguassu River.
Around the Falls, iguanas, deer and tapir can be found, and both Argentina and Brazil have created their own national parks, to preserve the natural scenic beauty of the area.
In Argentina, Iguazú
National Park was created in 1934, and in 1939, Brazil created Iguaçu National Park.
In 1984 the Argentine Park was declared a World Heritage Site, and in 1986 the Brazilian Park also received World Heritage Site status.