Iguazu National Park Abode Of The Majestic Iguazu Falls
‘Iguazu National Park’, together with its sister park ‘Iguacu’ in Brazil constitutes world’s one of the most stunning & spectacular natural sites. The park is famous for the exceptionally beautiful semicircular ‘Iguazu Waterfall’ that lies right in the heart of the park. The surrounding subtropical rainforest houses more than 2000 species of vascular plants & a wide range of endemic wildlife.
The park is located in the Misiones Province in the Northeastern terrain of Argentina, bordering the Brazilian state of ‘Parana’ to the north, in the ‘Iguazu River’ basin. The world’s one of the largest & the phenomenal waterfalls of the ‘Iguazu River’, extending nearly 3 km & dropping vertically some 80 meters are the premier attractions of this lush green national parks. The river draws its name from the indigenous term that stands for ‘Great water’ & forms an international border between ‘Argentina’ & ‘Brazil’ before flowing into the Parana River. The park occupies a total area of 185,262.5 hectares, stretching up to 420 km.
It is the most important park of the ‘Prata basin’ & its Brazilian sister was the first park in the country to receive a management plan. The park owes the preservation of the scenic natural ecosystems & the relevant ecology in order to boost the scientific research as well as the tourism.
The forest of the National park constitutes one of the most substantial remnants of the ‘Interior Atlantic Forest’, which also happens to be the most endangered global conservation priorities. The park is known for its extreme habitat & wide diversity in its flora & fauna.
The park, along with the ‘Iguacu National Park’ in Brazil, was declared as the ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO in 1986. On top of that, ‘Iguzu Falls’ have been included in the list of ‘New 7 Natural Wonders’ of the world.
Iguazu Falls: The stunning series of rapid cascades which span the border between Argentina & Brazil are undoubtedly the most iconic attractions of this park. Myriad islets formed along its 2.7 km long edge partition the Falls into many separate waterfalls & cataracts. The number of these tiny cascades falls between 150 & 300 depending upon the water level. Their height also varies between 60 to 82 meters.
The U-shaped narrow chasm, popularly known as the ‘Devil’s Throat’ (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish & Garganta do Diablo in Portugese) is the most loved part of the Falls which constitutes almost half of the river’s flow. The ‘Devil’s Throat’ stands 82 meters high spanning the width of 150 meters & stretching its length up to 700 meters!
The Falls can be reached from two major cities which fall on the either sides of the ‘Iguazu Falls’- Puerto Iguazu in Argentina & Foz do Iguacu in Brazil.
Apart from the exotic waterfalls & rich foliage, the park receives accolades for other attractions including ‘Poco Preto’ (the Black Well), the ‘Visitors Center’, the ‘Macuco Waterfall’ & the monument of Santos Dumont who dedicated his life & efforts in turning the site into a National Park.
The meeting point of the ‘Iguazu river’ & the ‘Parana river’, that forms the border of the three nations- Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay, is also a popular tourist attraction which is located 18km downriver from the Falls.
FLORA & FAUNA:
The park hosts the rich treasury of the southwestern Atlantic rainforest, although the larger part of it has fallen prey to the deforestation. The lower part of the park consists of subtropical rainforest containing lianas, epiphytes & ferns whereas, the upper part includes mainly humid subtropical forest containing the Brazilian pine, the Assai palms & wild coconut palms. Subtropical forest occupies nearly 90% of the total area of the park.
As far as the wildlife is concerned, the park is the house of multitudes of endemic animal & bird species. Jaguar, puma, giant otter, giant anteater, howler monkey, pampas deer & crested caiman are among the elite class residents of the ‘Iguazu National Park’. Various endemic birds, including the harpy eagle, Glaucous macaw, solitary Tinamou, red-spectacled parrots can also be seen frolicking in the thick foliage of the park.
The majestic ‘Iguazu Falls’ is the ultimate identity of this National Park. The beauty of this Falls is beyond the explanation & upon seeing this nature’s marvelous artwork, one can understand why United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” when she visited this ‘Iguazu Falls’ for the first time in her life!