Letter From Brazil: Iguazú Falls (Video)
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Letter From Brazil: Iguazú Falls (Video)

Foz do Iguaçu : Brazil | Apr 03, 2011 at 6:00 AM PDT
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Iguazu Falls

The first time Eleanor Roosevelt cast her eyes upon it, she remarked, “poor Niagra.” Of course, she just may have been temporarily spellbound by the mystical cascade of a network of waterfalls that stuns the senses. Iguazú Falls separates three South American countries as they vie to call the expanse their own. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay enjoy a landmark sensation that magnetizes thousands of tourists a year and stuns nature in its own right.

The network of waterfalls consists of 275 falls that spreads over some two miles. The water plummets with such intense force that the mist creates a permanent rainbow and almost appears as if it's shooting up from the pools below. The most popular attraction is a section called Devil's Throat, a horseshoe-shaped waterfall that's 269 feet wide and 2,300 feet long. A wide variety of guided tours remain available to the public at reasonable and unreasonable prices.

Someone planing a trip to this enchanted land must consider the best route. Iguazú is about a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the event good weather means something to you, try October – it's spring time in the Southern Hemisphere. During other good months like January, February and Easter vacation, the brethren in Brazil and Argentina flock there because its summer or high season. May, June and July represent the rainiest months.

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Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe, according to research conducted by Wikipedia. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

The first European to find the falls was the Spanish Conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541. He has been immortalized as one of the falls on the Argentine side is named.

Some of the individual falls are up to 82 meters (269 ft) in height, though the majority are about 64 metres (210 ft). The Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese), a U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide and 700-meter-long (490 by 2300 feet) cataract, is the most impressive of all, and marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. The Argentine side comprises three sections: the upper falls, the lower falls, and the Devil's Throat.

Less than a month ago, two people died trying to get closer than they should have. Maybe the hypnotizing nature of the falls overwhelmed them. It has been some 10 years since another causality has been recorded at Iguazu.

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Mystical Representation of Beauty
Nathaniel Hines is based in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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