Iguazu Falls, in Iguazu River, are one of the world’s largest waterfalls. They extend over 2,700 m (nearly 2 miles) in a semi-circular shape. Of the 275 falls that collectively make up Iguassu Falls, “Devil’s Throat” is the tallest at 80 m in height. Iguazu Falls are on the border between the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones, and are surrounded by two National Parks (BR/ARG). Both are subtropical rainforests that are host to hundreds of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.
The falls can be reached from the two main towns on either side of the falls: Puerto Iguazú in the Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, as well as from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay on the other side of the Paraná river from Foz do Iguaçu. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1987, respectively.
The Brazilian Iguaçu National Park is spectacular as well as pioneering. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to “future generations”, just as “it had been created by God” and endowed with “all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome” and “an unmatched flora” located in the “magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls”. These were the words used by Andre Rebouças, an engineer, in his book “Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia”, which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçu Falls way back in 1876, when Yellowstone, the first national park on the planet, was four years old.
The Argentinian side has the better and wider views of the falls[citation needed. On the Brazilian side there is a walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil’s Throat and helicopter rides offering aerial views of the falls are available. Argentina has prohibited such helicopter tours because of the environmental impact on the flora and fauna of the falls. From Foz do Iguaçu airport the park can be reached by taxi or bus to entrance of the park. There is an entrance fee to the park on both sides. Free frequent buses are provided to various points within the park. The town of Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away and the airport is in between the park and the town.
The Argentine access across the forest is by a Rainforest Ecological Train very similar to the one in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The train brings visitors to the entrance of Devil’s Throat as well as the upper and lower trails where one can admire nature at its best, abundant vegetation, colorful flowers mixing with the deep green and the roar of the falls in the distance. The Paseo Garganta del Diablo is a one-kilometer-long trail with magnificent views that brings the visitor directly over the falls of the Devil’s Throat, the highest and deepest of the falls. Other walkways allow access to the elongated stretch of falls across the forest on the Argentine side and to the boats that connect to San Martin island. Also on the Argentinian side there are inflatable boats service that takes visitors right under the falls, providing an extra and intense experience to the vacationer.
The Brazilian transportation system aims at allowing the increase in the number of visitors while reducing the environmental impact through the increase in the average number of passengers per vehicle inside de Park. The new transportation system boasts new 72 passenger panoramic view double deck buses. The upper deck is open, which enables visitors to enjoy added interactivity with the environment and a broad view of the flora and fauna during the trip to the Falls. The buses combustion system is in compliance with the CONAMA (phase IV) and EURO (phase II) emissions and noise requirements. The reduction in the number of vehicles, of noise levels and of speed is enabling tourists to observe increasing numbers of wild animals along the route. Each bus has an exclusive paint scheme, representing some of the most common wild animals found in the Iguaçú National Park. Some of those are: the spotted jaguars, butterflies, raccoons, prego monkeys, coral snakes, toucans, parrots and yellow breasted caimans.