In the local Tupi language, the word means big water. One look at the staggering Iguazu Falls, located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones and you realise that this is no exaggeration.
There is a local legend that says a god became besotted with a young and beautiful girl called Naipi – however she did not reciprocate his feelings. She fled from his advances with her earthly lover, Taroba, canoeing down the river to escape. The god in his anger sliced through the river and created the waterfalls. Naipi and Taroba were condemned to fall for all eternity.
The edge of the waterfall is almost three kilometers in length and it is dotted with numerous islands. These islands create a copious number of separate falls, all of them more than two hundred feet in height. Many have their own names – for example the narrow chasm down which half the flow disappears is known as the Devil’s Throat.
On each side of the falls is a national park. Argentina has the Iguazú National Park which was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 while Brazil has the Iguaçu National Park (note the single letter difference!), designated in 1987.