Iguazu Falls is a unique place in South America that combines natural beauty and pure magic! So when we planned our trip to Argentina it was an easy decision to jump on a plane, and make the quick trip from Buenos Aires. What we didn’t realize was that over the course of two full days we would learn so much that we didn’t know about the Iguazu waterfalls. Travel with us as we navigate our way through the Iguazu Falls history, wild animals, and other interesting tidbits to know before you go. Without further ado, here’s 12 facts about Iguazu Falls that are sure to inspire your wanderlust!
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12 Fun Facts About Iguazu Falls
1. Argentina and Brazil
One of the most well known facts about Iguazu Falls is that it’s actually split across two countries. Yes, that’s right! The waterfalls are divided by the massive Iguazu River.
Although they both share a fair portion of the hundreds of waterfalls, you should know that 80% of them reside on the Argentinian side. Despite not being evenly distributed, both sides present wildly different views, Iguazu Falls history, and endless angles to enjoy them from!
→ Iguazu Falls Argentina Full Day Guide With Boat Tour & Waterfall Route
→ Day Trip to the Brazilian Side of Iguazu Falls
2. How Many Iguazu Waterfalls Are There?
There are an astonishing 275 waterfalls at Iguazu! So how can you see them all?? Well it really depends which country you’re in. Even though the Brazilian side only contains 1/5th of the Iguazu waterfalls, it’s known for having the best panoramic views.
If you’re on the Argentina side you’ll be able to walk underneath, above, and all around the incredible Iguazu Falls in South America. We highly recommend taking two days, and seeing this wonder of nature from both countries.
3. An Endless Mist of Rainbows
One thing you’ll notice immediately is the unbelievable rainbows forming all around you at Iguazu Falls. If you’re lucky enough to have a sunny day you’re almost guaranteed to see a few.
The mixture of mist and sun creates the perfect amount of light to generate the beautiful rainbows. We couldn’t believe how many we saw springing up around the falls!
4. Wild Animals at Iguazu Falls
Welcome to the jungle!! When we first arrived at Iguazu Falls in South America we were startled to see a sign warning of jaguars… When we really thought about it though why wouldn’t there be some fierce animals at Iguazu Falls? This is one of the most diverse environments in the world after all.
In addition to the wild jaguars, there’s a plethora of other animals to see at Iguazu Falls. This includes monkeys, toucans, and a pesky little critter named the Coatis. As a member of the raccoon family, the Coatis are constantly on the prowl looking for food. Watch your bags around these sneaky animals!
5. Walkways and Hiking Paths Through the Park
There are many trails and walkways through Iguazu Falls in South America, all of which are super easy to navigate. On the Brazilian side you’ll find one long pathway that goes along the river and gives you amazing views of the Iguazu Waterfalls.
There’s even a long jetty that goes out so you can see directly into the enormous Devil’s Throat waterfall! On the Argentina side the upper and lower trails give you literally every angle possible to see these majestic falls.
6. The Devil’s Throat
We just mentioned the Devil’s Throat, and there’s literally no avoiding it! Luckily, on the Argentina side you can get an amazing view above the biggest Iguazu waterfall.
Standing on the small viewing platform with the Devil’s Throat directly under you is one of the most powerful things you will ever see! Also referred to as “The Devil’s Cauldron,” 1 million liters is said to gush over these falls per second.
7. What’s Under the Falls?
Here’s another fact about Iguazu Falls that you might not know! The river that flows underneath them is also a great feat of nature.
The 820 mile long waterway forms a brief natural border in between Brazil and Argentina and is home to over 100 species of fish. In addition, it connects to the Parana River which is the 2nd largest in South America after the Amazon!
8. European Discovery
Switching back to the history of Iguazu Falls, the first European to stumble upon them was Spanish Conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541. Can you believe what he must of thought at first sight almost 500 years ago?
Yet just because the Europeans discovered it obviously doesn’t mean they were the first. The Iguazu Falls history with humans dates back thousands of years, and the land has long been settled by the ancient Guarani tribe.
9. The Largest Waterfall System in the World
The 275 falls at Iguazu together make up the largest waterfall system in the world! They stretch for 1.7 miles total, and the heights are anywhere from 200 to 270 feet tall. In comparison with the largest single waterfall in the world it’s actually pretty close. Victoria Falls in Southern Africa is 354 feet tall, and has a width of just over one mile.
The tallest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela, which sits at a staggering 3,212 feet high. Still, none of them compare in beauty to the hundreds of different waterfalls you’ll see together at Iguazu!
10. The Capybara
Looking for more animals at Iguazu Falls? Well the nature park is actually home to the largest rodent in the world! These friendly herbivores can be seen roaming on the edges of the jungle, and are even known to be great swimmers. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a couple of Capybara bathing by the river on our Iguazu Falls boat tour.
11. Wet vs. Dry Season
One of the most essential facts about Iguazu Falls in South America is when to visit. December through March is the wet season, and when you’ll experience much higher temperatures.
Due to the large volume of rain this is also when you’ll see the most water gushing from the Iguazu Waterfalls. Dry season runs from May to August when it won’t be nearly as humid. It’s also important to note that it rains year round in the forest of Iguazu, but obviously more often during the wet season!
12. Poor Niagara
On her first sight of the tremendous Iguazú Falls, Eleanor Roosevelt was famously quoted saying: “Poor Niagara!” The tallest section of Iguazu Falls in South America is more than double the height of Niagara falls.
Not to mention that it’s over 270 different falls instead of just one long straight waterfall across like in New York. After visiting both ourselves, we can truly agree that Niagara doesn’t compare!
→ Iguazu Falls Itinerary: Two Day Argentina & Brazil Travel Guide
Do you have any questions about our post or more fun Iguazu Falls history to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay Near Iguazu Falls
Ultra Luxury – Gran Meliá Iguazú – As the only hotel set inside Iguaza Falls National Park in Argentina, this 5 star property is the perfect place to stay to experience luxury. It’s complete with a swimming pool overlooking the falls and everything else you need to enjoy your stay.
Ultra Luxury – Belmond Hotel das Cataratas – This bright pink luxury hotel is the only place to stay inside the park, and has views over the Iguazu Falls! Unless you get a room at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Resort we recommend staying across the border and taking an Iguazu Falls day trip to Brazil.
Fun Vacation – O2 Hotel Iguazu – This brand new hotel in the heart of the Puerto Iguazu is one of the nicest places to stay in town. In addition to large spacious rooms and a rooftop pool, you’ll be within walking distance to all the best bars and restaurants!
Longterm Travel – Marín Apartments – Nice apartments in the center of town with kitchens and balconies overlooking the street. The owner is very helpful and will even provide a map of Puerto Iguazu and the falls for you.
For more places to stay in Puerto Iguazu you can explore the latest prices here!
Argentina Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Remember that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Argentina than driving or taking the bus!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling in Argentina. It is especially fun to have a car in scenic regions like Patagonia.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Argentina. Attend a tango show in Buenos Aires, visit Iguazu Falls with an epic boat tour, or go glacier trekking in El Calafate!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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