Iguaçu Falls (in Castilian: Cataratas del Iguazú) is a collection of approximately 275 waterfalls in the Iguaçu River (in the Paraná River Hydrographic Basin), located between the Iguaçu National Park, Paraná, Brazil, and the National Park Iguazú in Misiones, Argentina, on the border between the two countries. The total area of both national parks corresponds to 250 thousand hectares of subtropical forest and is considered a Natural Heritage of Humanity.
The Argentine national park was created in 1934, while the Brazilian park was inaugurated in 1939. Both protected areas with the purpose of managing and preserving the water source that represents this cataract and the whole of the environment around it. Both Brazilian and Argentine parks became World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Since 2002, the Iguaçu National Park has been one of the Brazilian geological sites.
Historically, the first European to find the Iguaçu Falls was the Spaniard Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in the year 1541.It is currently the second most visited place by foreigners in Brazil. In the rainy season, the Iguaçu Falls are the 3rd largest in the world in terms of water volume. Its flow increases 10 times, reaching 11.3 thousand cubic meters per second, when the normal is 1.5 thousand.
The Iguaçu Falls participated in the worldwide campaign to choose the seven natural wonders of the world, organized by the New 7 Wonders Foundation. The falls were among the 28 finalists in the campaign, which lasted until the end of 2011 when the number of 1 billion votes was reached. On January 31, 2012, Google prepared a special doodle in honor of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's discovery of the Iguassu Falls.
South America makes up the southern half of the Americas and a large part of Latin America. It's home to the world's longest mountain range, biggest waterfall and largest river -- even these mammoths pale in comparison to the stunning variety of life forms thriving in the rainforest. To the northwest, off the coast of Ecuador, lie the Galapagos Islands, which are unique for hosting species not found anywhere else on earth. These were the subject of study for Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution, which he himself said will require proof in every single case. The main languages in South America are Spanish and Portugese, which basically tells you which European countries colonized the place. The South American wars of independence took place over two decades in the early 19th century, led by Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose san Martin of Argentina. Following liberation from Portugal and Spain, South America took off into its own development, capitalizing on the rich deposits of oil, gold, copper, silver and tango musicians. Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to one of the world's best parties, Carnaval. Have you heard of samba music? How about bossa nova? Maybe dancing for three days straight? I can't say enough good things about South America. All the world's continents have amazing secrets and treasures laying in wait for your discovery, but in South America... just have a look at our pictures while you're waiting for online confirmation of your plane tickets to hit your inbox.Text by Steve Smith.