Foz do Iguacu Tourist Attractions
Foz do IguaçuSituation and CharacteristicsAlthough itself remarkably charmless, the town of Foz do Iguaçu, situated at the point where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet, is one of the most important tourist centers in the whole of Brazil. Its main attractions are the Iguaçu Falls, the Iguaçu National Park and the Itaipu hydro-electric station.
Iguaçu FallsSituation and CharacteristicsJust before the Rio Iguaçu, here 4km/2.5mi wide, flows into the Rio Paraná on the frontier between Brazil and Argentina it narrows for just under 100m/110yds and then forms a semicircle of 247 falls thundering down into the gorge below. Some of the falls are over 100m/330ft high.This magnificent spectacle can be observed from a helicopter or from a 950m/1000yd long path running round the semicircle of falls. There are a number of viewpoints offering impressive views of the surging water. A footbridge leads over the river to the Garganta do Diabo ("Devil's Jaws"), one of the most massive of the falls.The falls can be viewed from both the Brazilian and Argentine side. They are equally divided between these two countries. The Brazilian side offers excellent views, including the view from the observation tower. The Argentine side offers some great view points as well, with opportunities to get very close to the cascading falls. Visitors can hike to the bottom of the falls and catch a small ferry that will take them to a beach in the center of the river where it is possible to have a swim.
Iguaçu National Park
Iguaçu National ParkThe falls lie within the Iguaçu National Park (Parque Nacional do Iguaçu; established 1939), 28km/17mi east of Foz do Iguaçu, which has been under UNESCO protection since 1986.The National Park, of which 170,086 hectares/420,000 acres are in Brazil and 55,000 hectares/136,000 acres in Argentina, is the largest forest reserve in the south of the country. The subtropical rain forests are the home of some 1100 species of birds and large and small mammals (deer, otters, ocelots, capybaras, etc.). From the town an expressway, the Rodovia das Cataratas, runs past the airport and the new Convention Center and through the park to the falls. The best approach to the park is from the visitor center on the Argentinian side.
Eco-MuseumThe National Park Museum, 20km/12.4mi from Foz do Iguaçu on the Rodovia das Cataratas, displays plants and rock specimens from the region.
Itaipu Hydro-Electric Station
ItaipuHydro-electric StationThe Itaipu hydro-electric station (Hidrelétrica de Itaipu), 40km/25mi north-west of the Iguaçu Falls, was one of the giant projects of the military dictatorship. Its eighteen turbines are powered by water from the artificial lake on the Paraná to the north. It is the largest hydro-electric station in South America, and indeed one of the largest in the world. There are conducted visits daily from Monday to Saturday, with audio-visual material illustrating the construction of the scheme.
Marco das Três Fronteiras
Marco das Três Fronteiras9km/5.6mi from Foz do Iguaçu, at the confluence of the Iguaçu and the Paraná and at the entrance to Porto Meira, is the Marco das Três Fronteiras, marking the point where the frontiers of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. From here there are superb views of the whole surrounding area.
Pesca do Dourado
Pesca do DouradoDuring the last week of October Foz do Iguaçu is the scene of an important international fishing competition, the Prova Aperta Internacional de Pesca do Dourado.
Map of Foz do Iguacu Attractions