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Visit to Iguassu Falls, Brasil

October 4-5, 1997


Charlie was a visiting professor to ITA in Brasil in 1969; as he was leaving he made a quick stop at Iguassu Falls (as well as Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Machu Picchu, Quito, etc.). When he returned to give a talk at a conference in Brazil in 1997, Jenny accompanied him. A required stop was to show Jenny Iguassu Falls.

The Foz do Iguaçu (as the natives would say) is (surprise) in the Brazilian Iguaçu National Park. The only hotel in the park is the historical Hotel das Cataratas, now a Belmond hotel. As I write this, it is over $400 per night with taxes and fees, but well worth it for the one night stay that I recommend. The alternative is being in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, a 30-40 minute drive away, where you can get a choice of hotels, some as cheap as the Best Western for under $50.

If there was any doubt why you want to be at the Hotel das Cataratas rather than 25 miles away, this is the view from the Hotel. However, as you walk the paved path from the hotel, more and more falls keep appearing - 80% of the falls are actually on the Argentina side, but some say the view of the falls (across the chasm from the Brazilian side) is better. The edge of the falls is 1.7 miles wide, with numerous islands breaking it into 150-300 separate falls (depending on the water flow). The height varies from 197 to 269 feet. Our visit was in the week following some upstream storms, so the water level was high - the falls were wide and muddy.

Upon seeing Iguaçu, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara! Iguaçu is often compared to Victoria Falls in Southern Africa, which has a wider curtain of water, since Iguaçu is broken into many smaller falls.

The rest of this "travelogue" is just pictures. For more details see the wikipedia entry about the falls.

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