Iguazu



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Iguazu, the confluence of rivers and countries. The region is known as "Las Tres Fronteras", in Spanish at least, as it is where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay all come together. There are two main attractions in the region, one is the Cataratas do Iguassu - one of the largest waterfalls in the world - and the Itaipu dam, the world's largest power plant.

We took an internal Brazilian flight from Sao Paulo to Iguassu and stayed for two nights on the Brazilian side, seeing the falls, the dam, and Foz do Iguassu's less-than-vibrant nightlife scene, then caught a fifteen minute bus over into Argentina where we spent another night on the Argentine side of the falls. We also crossed into Paraguay for a brief visit. I had been told that there's a place in Brazil where it almost never stops raining, it must be pretty near to Iguassu as this was quite the wettest place I have visited.


Cataratas

Looking towards "La Garganta del Diablo" - the Devil's Throat, the most active part of the falls. Brazil is on the left, Argentina is on the right. The only other waterfall in the world in the same league as Iguazu is the Victoria Falls in southern Africa.


This is a view from Brazil into Argentina. As Argentina has most of the waterfalls themselves, the views from Brazil tend to be better, but more distant.

Cataratas

The Norwegian Blue

Encounter with a parrot - I don't think this is a Norwegian Blue...


Looking towards La Garganta again, you can see the little walkway that will take you right to the edge of the step halfway down the falls. Watery.

Cataratas

Cataratas

A view from the end of the walkway towards the heaviest part of the falls.


Toucans in their nests agree, [Irish stout] is good for you. Try one for yourself and see, what one or toucan do!

See what one or toucan do...

Cataratas

From higher up on the Brazilian side you can see a bit more clearly. This represents only a small length of the overall falls.


A smaller section of the falls in Argentina. I think we showed up during the drier season, as some postcards showed the falls with a lot more water cascading over.

Cataratas

El Rio Paraná

When we took a speedboat trip up the river to get a bit of a soaking, it was clear to see that the river often runs much higher (see the bare darkened rock), so the falls must be an order of magnitude more impressive when in spate.


A very posh hotel in the Brazilian side of the park. Not quite as good as the Pousada Campestre where we stayed for 20 reals per night!

Hotel

Foz do Iguassu

The city of Foz do Igua絠sprang up almost overnight when work began on the Itaipu dam. It has a slightly uneasy feel to the place, being so close to Paraguay probably doesn't help. It was difficult to locate any sort of nightlife, and once you've seen the falls and the dam it's really not worth hanging around...


The Itaipu Dam was a joint venture between Brazil and Paraguay, built throughout the 70s and 80s to supply power to a quarter of Brazil (Rio and Sao Paulo) and almost the entire country of Paraguay. Like any major project it was not without controversy, but for all the rainforest that disappeared beneath the reservoir, so much more was saved from burning for conventional power generation. Note the vehicle next to the closest white pipe for an idea of scale.

Dam it's big

Spillway

The spillways are opened to allow the Rio Paranᠴo flow faster from time to time if necessary, but not on this day. When running at capacity, there is 40 times as much water as the Iguazu falls going through these channels.


A view of the dam from the visitors' gallery, without any real sense of scale here. The dam is just under 200 metres high, about the same as a 50 storey office building.

No more dam jokes please...!

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2006