By Judy J. Pinegar
The name “Iguazu” comes from the Guarani (native Indian) words “y“, meaning “water”, and “ûasú “[wa?su], meaning “big”. Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The first European to see the falls was a Spanish Conquistador in 1541.
Puerto Iguazu, we had been here before, maybe 12 years ago, and it is now much more of a tourist trap. The hotel we had for about 150 pesos a night is now almost 600 pesos and the restaurant across the street cost us 300 pesos (poor us; this is 60 dollars or less as the rate is now over 6 pesos to the dollar, but still we resent the increased cost!)
We walked to Los Tres Fronteras (the three frontiers), where you can stand on Argentine soil and see both Brazil and Paraguay across two different Rivers, the Iguazu and the Parana, both greatly built up from the last time we were here. The next day we took a local bus (also now much inflated in price) to the Argentine falls. After a train ride, we spent about 5 hours walking both the lower and upper trails to see the falls. John’s video does great justice to the amazing sights on those trails.
Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, formed by volcanic activity. Numerous islands along 1.7 mile edge divide the falls into numerous separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 197 to 269 ft high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level. Names have been given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others. About half of the river’s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diaboin Portuguese). (We will talk about and show this in our next blog.)
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