Coordinates: 25°41′43″S 54°26′12″O
I close my eyes and the images overflow my mind. My brain inundates with the magnificent views that I was able to witness. I’ve been lucky to live almost divine moments that have led me to experiment surrealist sensations. From above, the cataracts looked like a gigantic mouth of a Dragon, which instead of emitting fire from its mouth, it gushes out water.
When you get closer, you realize that it’s an immense abysm, where its end seduces you with its undecipherable beauty. Immensity invites you to make your imagination wander as you imagine yourself escaping, with the complete sensation of freedom, to space. There, cold, foamy clouds that rise dancing to the beat of nature’s cycle receive you. Iguaçu Falls… an unforgettable experience.
The legend of the Iguazu Falls
The legend tells that the Guaraní tribe, who lived at the Iguazu River’s basin many years ago, believed that a snake-form god called Mboi governed the world. Naipi, the daughter of the tribe’s chief, was a beautiful young woman, such, that the river’s waters stopped when the contemplated herself in its reflection. Since the god Mboi gave her the gift of such enviable beauty, he expected her to dedicate her life to adore him. A young warrior called Taroba lived in love of Naipi and decided to escape with her.
Taroba and Naipi
In its small canoe, Taroba and Naipi, parted down the river until Mboi discovered them. Mboi, in its rage, penetrated the bowels of the earth. He scraped the ground in such a way that the huge wound became a gigantic cataract where fugitives fell until they disappeared. Naipi was transformed in one of the biggest and most beautiful falls of the Iguazu Falls. Taroba is next to it, on the border of the abysm like an enormous palm. One next to the other, without touching or speaking; only loving each other from their close distance. Just below the palm, there’s a grotto, where the Mboi god watches the two victims so that they never become close again. In this way, according to the Guaraní legends, the impressive cataracts were formed by the Iguazu River’s flow.
Iguazu and the Guaranís
The Iguazu River, which means “big water”, is responsible for the union between Brazil and Argentina. Then, the Paraná River, which according to the Indians in the “Father of the Sea”, is in charge of adding Paraguay in this meeting point. The triple frontier of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, bathed by the Iguazu and Paraná Rivers, is one of the few places in the world where different cultures, languages, and ethnic group live in harmony.
Brazil and Argentina
In the visitor’s center of the Iguazu National Park, founded in 1939 and the first in Latin America, there’s a monument in honor of the Indians that reads: “The Guaranís or warrior people, wove the history of the stages of harmonious coexistence between man and the jungle.” These Indians lived in complete harmony with the environment, taking care of its surroundings, respecting every living being and venerating that energy that life gave them. It is so, that it’s not only the rivers those that join these villages, but also the deeply rooted values of a tribe that has been diffused into cities and whole countries.
The geological transformation that gave rise to the formation of the Iguazu Falls started 150 million years ago. This alteration of the globe created a gigantic canon where only the Iguazu River’s waters flow. The Iguazu National Park, which houses these majestic cataracts, spans five thousand hectares of natural reserve. Its terrains start in the south of the Paraná state in Brazil and ends in the Misiones region in Argentina.
The reserve is home to an infinite amount of species, such as: parrots and toucans with vibrant plumages of a thousand colors, stealthy panthers, cautious pumas, dangerous jaguars, enormous crocodiles, and the most well-known pet of this area is the restless coati. In both sides of the cataracts, Brazil and Argentina, many types of vegetation grow, such as cedar, black laurel, various types of ferns, and the scarce tree called Palo de Rosa. Both places are spectacular, but at the same time, they are two completely different perspectives.
Iguazu is adrenaline
The levels of adrenaline rise at the side of the cataracts in Argentina. Through this border, you can take a trip by boat that takes you inside the cataracts. When the vessel approaches the torrent of water, getting soaked is inevitable. The thunder of the gigantic fall of water deafens you and the mist of water completely clouds your view. Only the sense of touch to the freezing water and the wet smell are alert. In this moment, the fragility of the human body is made evident, however, it wakes up an unusual fascination against an exposed situation.
Adrenaline and Respect
The though of that incontrollable torrent of water that is only a few centimetres away from your body, soaking you with its magic, makes you feel close to heaven. The adrenaline starts to rise as you see yourself getting more and more inside of the cataract and closer to its roar. For some reason, fear is absent, achieving a purification of all emotions as they are sprinkled with the exaltation of the moment.
After the experience by boat, you travel the forest through its trails. As you walk though the bridges that span between the 275 waterfalls, the desire to venerate nature and its uncountable marvels grows. To be at the top of the cataract and observe how your feet succumb with fury to open space of powerful torrents of water incites in you to be respectful to life and the fragility of our existence on Earth.
Iguazu is also peace and harmony
In contrast with the Argentinean side, the Brazilian side is all tranquility. It’s like a journey to paradise and to the interior of your self. To see the scenario of the cataracts in front of your eyes with its immense beauty and its similarity to what an Eden would be in your imagination can mark your life forever. A long trail leads to the most impressive and powerful cataract, the Devil’s Throat, that’s 270 feet in height. In the journey, you walk through marked trails where you can go deep into the forest’s core and can observe nature in its maximum expression. The splendid condor that flies above the impressive cataracts, the howling monkey that jumps from branch to branch, and some ants as big as a cockroach.
The Devil’s Throat
To reach the Devil’s Throat, you have to cross an anchored bridge in the same flow of the river. What you see, before crossing the long bridge, is so majestic that you don’t even think where you’re standing. One you get to the end, you find the beginning, the start of your life, and a spectacle that is never-before-seen to your senses.
Almost in Heaven
The view is delighted by the greenness of nature, the white foam of water, and the multiple rainbows that appear before your eyes. The skin absorbs the coldness of water and the energy of the wind, making you tremble from emotion. The smell of wet soil, of rain that rises from the river, instead of falling from the sky, and the aroma of life, impregnate your self.
The clamor of the torrent of the cataract, as it hugs in harmony with the river that flows for and against the current at the same time, joined with the silence of the clouds, allow you to enjoy of a celestial melody. With the flavor of the raindrops that fall to your lips, you get to swallow a bit of the essence of that worldly paradise that has seduced you from just visiting it.
Conscious Travel Practices:
1. Respect the environment.
2. Learn about the flora and fauna.
3. Connect with the energy of the Earth and the Universe greatness.
4. Absorb transforming experiences.
5. Support the economy by sponsoring the local lodgings and restaurants.
6. Enjoy nature without leaving trash behind.