The Iguazu Falls are one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. A trip to South America is definitely never complete without a day trip to witness them in real life.
Whenever you visit one of the world’s natural wonders, it’s always good to arm yourself with some background knowledge. You’re probably already aware with some key facts anyway, but are you familiar with the following 10 pieces of information about the Iguazu Falls?
1. It has a larger average annual flow than any other waterfall
You probably already knew that the Iguazu Falls is the world’s largest waterfall system. So it’s probably no surprise that it boasts the largest annual water flow of any other waterfall. In the rainy season from November to March, it can reach a whopping 450,000 cubic feet per second.
2. It name means Big Water
Guarani is a native South American language that is still spoken by some indigenous tribes – with Iguazu roughly translating to Big Water.
3. Legend has it a scorned lover created the waterfall
Apparently Mboi, a deity in the form of a serpent, was to marry a beautiful young woman called Naipi. Then she fell in love with a young warrior, Tarobá. When the young woman and her lover tried to escape in a canoe, she split the river in a fit of rage (with his serpent tail) and they fell to their death.
4. But others believe it was a volcanic eruption
Which is probably more likely, but we’ll leave you to decide.
5. It was discovered by Spaniards
Specifically it was the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who was the first European to stumble upon the falls. One of the falls on the Argentine side is even named after him.
6. Birds even live inside the falls
You’ll spot some birds plunging into the falls. Don’t be alarmed. The birds you see are Great Dusky Swifts and they nest on the rocks behind the walls.
7. Indiana Jones even stopped by
The Iguazu Falls were used as a backdrop in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. They also featured in Moonraker (1979), The Mission (1986), Mr. Magoo (1997) and Miami Vice (2006).
8. The surrounding rainforest boasts a whopping 2,000 species of plants
It is also home to the opossum, the only marsupial that is found outside Australia.
9. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site
And they were also made a New 7 Wonders of Nature on November 11, 2011.
10. There are three ways to view the falls
You can walk along the viewing platforms, take a boat on the lower stream or jump on a helicopter ride. All are equally beautiful and provide a different view of this beautiful piece of nature.
Like all other South American countries, Argentina is bursting at the seams with amazing natural wonders and cultural experiences. But Argentina also clocks in as one of the biggest countries in the continent and, as a result, has an almost endless list of possible adventures. Ready to go? Here’s our Argentina bucket list with everything you fit into your itinerary.
Party the night away in Buenos Aires (nightclubs stay open throughout the night)
Watch the professionals tango on stage
Start your morning with a cup of mate, a national drink made of chopped yerba mate leaves and hot water
Sign up for your own tango class
Sip fine wines in the vineyards of Mendoza
Eat some of the best steak of your life at one of the many parrillas
Spend a day wandering around the different barrios (neighbourhoods) in Buenos Aires
Have a mooch around the numerous boutique stores of Palermo Soho
Walk the full length of 9 de Julio Avenue
Admire the geographic extremes of the country at the Perito Moreno glacier
Dip your toes into the clear blue waters of the Lake District
Awe in amazement at Argentina’s most precious natural wonder: the Iguazu Falls
Explore the isles of the El Ateneo Bookstore, considered one of the best bookstores in the world
Take pictures of the colourful building sin La Boca
Hike to the base of Mt. Fitz Roy
Visit land’s end at Tierra del Fuego
Soak up some arts in Córdoba, Cultural Capital of the Americas
Admire the roof of the Americas aka Cerro Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes
Cheer on a fútbol match at La Bombonera
Arrange a day trip from Buenos Aires to El Tigre
Give yourself a point every time you spot a famous grave in Recoleta Cemetery
Inspect the intricate details of Castillo de Naveira, a neo-gothic castle in the Argentinian countryside
There are some countries that boast more than one stand out destination and encourage you to explore all its corners. Peru is one of these countries. Huddled together on the pacific coast of South America, you can’t just fly into the capital, have a one week break and then fly back home. And why would you want to? Peru is a bucket list destination home to an official Wonder of the World, 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a distinct melting pot of cultures found nowhere else.
This is a country that requires an itinerary and here are the five cities that you should make sure are included in any Peru itinerary.
Every Peruvian adventure starts in the capital city of Lima. Home to the only international airport in the country, some travellers make the mistake of skipping onwards the next morning without exploring Peru’s main urban playground. Around the city you will uncover the city’s rich history with examples of pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern architecture, as well as a rich foodie scene and lively nightlife. There are also pleasant beaches at the north and south of the city.
We didn’t need to tell you that this should be on your list, did we? This sky-scrapping Inca city is one of the primary reason many people visit Peru, and some head straight here when they land. Evidence of Inca life can be found as you explore homes, temples and inspect the irrigation system. Despite being the most recognisable example of Inca history, historians are baffled by its existence but it is believed to have existed since the 15th Century undetected by Spanish settlers (and only came to mainstream attention in 1911).
When you’re on your way to Machu Picchu from Lima, remember to stop by the culturally energetic city of Cusco. It is one of Peru’s most important tourist destinations with many travellers treating it as their hotel base while they explore Macchu Picchu or the Sacred Valley of the Incas. But the city itself also has much to discover. Cusco was the historic capital of the Incas and features many well-preserved buildings that date back to pre-colonial times and just outside the city is the sacred Inca site of Sacsayhuaman – a large complex built from limestone boulders.
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is another world wonder that many travellers consider to be a bucket-list item. There are a few ways into the Amazon, and which area you choose to visit will depend on whether you’re looking to raft down along its winding bends or keep an eye out for rare birds. It’s worth noting that it is difficult to explore the Amazon Rainforest without an official guide and self-organised tours will probably encounter a few difficulties. Luckily there are loads of tours groups and guides to choose from.
If you really want to delve deep into Peru’s ancient history, we recommend the large ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert. Believed to date back 500 BCE the designs are a mix of geometric lines, stylised animals (such as monkeys and spiders) and symbols of nature such as trees and flowers. The lines themselves are very shallow but due to a lack of wind on the plateau the lines have remained visible without human intervention. Many tourists choose to hop on a plane to view them, but most of the geoglyphs can be viewed from surrounding foothills.