Iguazu Falls is one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. It is one of the most famous landmarks in Argentina and one of the greatest natural wonders in Brazil. This bucket-list UNESCO Heritage Site gets over one and a half million visitors a year. So, whether you are planning a visit, or just want to learn more, here are some interesting facts about Iguazu Falls.
7 Interesting Facts About Iguazu Falls
1. Iguazu Falls is in Brazil and Argentina
Iguazu Falls straddle Brazil and Argentina. You’ll find the Falls in the Brazilian state of Paraná. In Portuguese, the Falls are called Cataratas do Iguaçu. On the Argentinian side, the Falls are located in the Misiones province. In Spanish, the Falls are called Cataratas del Iguazú.
2. Iguazú Falls comprises 275 different waterfalls
Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls, are located on the Iguazu River. The waterfalls divide the river into upper and lower Iguazu. Roughly 275 distinct falls, in the shape of a horseshoe, make up Iguazú Falls which is the largest waterfall system in the world. Most of the falls (around 80%) are on the Argentine side.
3. The Devil’s Throat has more than 14 drops
The most impressive of all the falls is a U-shaped cliff nicknamed Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat), which has 14 falls plunging more than 260 feet (80 metres). Around half of the water flow from the Iguazu River spills into the Devil’s Throat. With water flowing from three sides, Garganta del Diablo is an incredible 260-degree waterfall and it makes a thunderous noise. You can hear the loud roar of The Devil’s Throat from miles away.
4. Iguazu means ‘big water’
The Iguazu Falls got their name from the Guarani word Yguasu. The Guarani language is one of the official languages of Paraguay. In this local language, the falls are known as Chororõ Yguasu. “Y” means water and “ûasú” means big. Therefore, Iguazu simply means “big water”.
5. Iguazu Falls are taller and wider than Niagara Falls
Legend has it that when First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt visited Iguazu Falls in 1944 she exclaimed, “Poor Niagara”. At 269 feet (82 metres) high and 8,858 feet (2,700 metres) wide, Iguazu Falls are taller and twice as wide as Niagara Falls. However, Niagara Falls has a greater flow rate than Iguazu Falls.
6. Iguazu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Iguazu National Park is made up of two national parks. Puerto Iguazu is in Argentina and was declared a National Park in 1934. Foz de Iguazu in Brazil was declared a National Park in 1939. In 1984, UNESCO declared the Iguazu Falls a World Heritage Site and an area of outstanding universal value. The national parks are home to around 2000 plant species, 80 tree species, 400 bird species, including the elusive Harpy Eagle, and several wild cat species, for instance, ocelots and jaguars. It’s also home to rare species such as the broad-snouted caiman, which is a crocodilian reptile. Tapirs, giant anteaters and howler monkeys also call the national park home.
7. Iguazu Falls has appeared in lots of movies
Iguazu Falls is a star on the big screen. Hollywood directors love the Falls and have filmed plenty of movies here. It featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the James Bond movie Moonraker (1979). It was also a filming location for The Mission (1986), Mr. Magoo (1997) and Miami Vice (2006). Most recently it appeared in the movie Black Panther (2018) as the Warrior Falls, where the King of Wakanda aka the Black Panther gets his coronation.