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Wonderful Water

Puerto Iguazu, ArgentinaThere is only one word to describe Iguazu Falls – Unreal. Even after seeing them I doubt whether they actually exist. I must have dreamed it because sights like this only exist in a fantasy world created by Hollywood. Or so I thought. From Iguazu Falls 2011-04Real or a shot from ‘Avatar’? Legend [...]

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

There is only one word to describe Iguazu Falls – Unreal. Even after seeing them I doubt whether they actually exist. I must have dreamed it because sights like this only exist in a fantasy world created by Hollywood. Or so I thought.

From Iguazu Falls 2011-04
Real or a shot from ‘Avatar’?


Legend has it that the falls were created by the serpent god, M’Boi, who lived in the Iguazu River. Each year locals would sacrifice a local village woman to appease M’Boi. One day M’Boi feasted his eyes on the village woman Naipi and he wanted her all for himself. He ordered the villagers to sacrifice Naipi. The only problem was that Naipi was madly in love with Taruba and wanted no part in M’Boi’s plans. With dreams of marrying Taruba and self preservation in mind Naipi jumped in a canoe to high-tail it out of town with her lover. Watching them escape a pissed off M’Boi gave chase. Not able to catch them the serpent god split the river bed creating a chasm for the two to fall into. As Naipi was falling to her death M’Boi changed her into a stone to forever sit at the bottom of the falls. Taruba didn’t fare much better and was turned into a tree at the top of the falls. Forever after the two lovers were left staring at one another just out of arms reach.

To me, this legend sounds way more interesting than reality – Creation through a geological fault.

No matter which reason you choose to to believe there is no denying that a truly spectacular sight has been created that rivals anything I have seen before.

1.7 miles long
1 river diverged into 275 individual waterfalls
269 feet high

My first stop of the day was to a part of the falls called the Devils Throat. Cool name; must be interesting I thought. Walking down a grated, metal platform over the Rio Iguazu people were snapping photos of random birds and lame river scenes. Feeling a bit cynical I was wondering what these people saw. Had they never seen a river before? I knew we were about to see something amazing but water leisurely moving down stream isn’t exactly an attention grabber and the reason for why we all paid the 100 peso entrance fee. Moments later the herd of human cattle I was walking with passed through a small island of trees and were hit by a wall of mist and our first view of falls for the day – People went nuts. The scene was similar to that of frantic shoppers storming the local Wal-Mart on Black Friday. I was stopped cold.

The sound of rushing water.

The mist rising from the falls slowly soaking me through and through.

The vibration felt in the metal platform perched over the side of a once leisurely running river now turned into a raging current.

It all had me entranced.

From Iguazu Falls 2011-04
The Devils Throat

I spent seven hours at the falls and could have spent longer if the park wasn’t pushing me out the doors at 5:00 pm. The highlight of day was easily the view from Isla San Martin. The small island provided a front-row center seat to the falls. Looking to my left were falls extending out into the hazy distance. In front of me the continuous water vapor created a fine mist and an extraordinary rainbow that disappeared into the grass in front of me (I had found the end of a rainbow and was disappointed to not discover a leprechaun or a pot of gold). To my right water continued to fall for as far as the haze permitted me to see. In the deafening roar of the water I stood and stared. When I was done staring I stared some more.

This video gives you some idea of what I saw.

The sad part is that nearby there was another set of waterfalls that displaced even more water, were taller and just all around more grand than Iguazu. That is, until 1982. 1982 signified the completion of the Itiapu Dam which flooded the falls forever leaving them at the bottom of a man made lake. Still impressive is that the Itaipu Dam was the largest dam in the world up until the completion of the Three Gorges Dam and today supplies electricity to 80% of Paraguay and 25% of Brazil.

Photos of Iguazu Falls

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Filed under: Argentina, Cubicle Ditcher

About the Author:

Sam Langley left a comfortable and profitable job with an insurance company in the USA to travel the world. He has been going for years, and has not stopped yet. Keep up with his travels on his blog at Cubicle Ditcher. has written 147 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.