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Argentina / Iguazú Falls 1 The text of this guide is compiled on the basis of material available on the Internet, and other texts of public access, in and other usable sources quoting its source. Photos: Pierre Dumas/Graciela 2 Puerto Iguazú Puerto Iguazú is a frontier city in the province of Misiones, Argentina. With a population of 82,227 (2010 census), it is the fourth largest city in the Province, after Posadas, Oberá, and Eldorado. The world-renowned Iguazú Falls are only 18 kilometres (11 mi) away from the city, and as a result the city has developed much of its infrastructure around tourism. Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became, in 1542, the first European to discover what are now called Iguazú Falls. He was drawn by the noise of the water, which can be heard at a distance of several kilometers. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the Guaraní people were the principal inhabitants of the area. Despite its early exploration, the area remained occupied only by the Guaraní Indians until Corrientes Province, which at that time included what is now Misiones, sold 50 square leagues (13,000 square kilometres (5,000 sq mi)) at the current site of Puerto Iguazú near the falls in The land changed hands three times in the course of just two years, and ended up as the property of Gregorio Lezama. At that time Misiones separated from Corrientes. Lezama funded a scientific expedition to explore the territory, enlisting Carlos Bosetti and Jordan Hummel for that purpose. Those two explorers later organized the first tourist trip to the falls; Lezama sold the land in 1888 to Martín Errecaborde and Company. Territorial Governor Rudecindo Roca established Iguazú Department, one of 5 initial subdivisions in Misiones, in A Justice of the Peace, Alberto Mujica, was assigned to the area in The firm of Gibaja y Núñez opened the town s first hotel at this time to serve the growing numbers of tourists visiting Iguazú Falls. One of these, Victoria Aguirre, funded the first road into the town in 1901 as well as other civic improvements, and it was in her honor that on September 10, 1902, the settlement was formally established as Puerto Aguirre. A police department (1913), a civil registrar (1916), and a post office (1928) followed. The Iguazú National Park was established as such by the national government in 1934, and in 1943 the town was renamed Puerto Iguazú. The Tancredo Neves Bridge, connecting the city with neighboring Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil), was opened in Climate Puerto Iguazú has a Humid Subtropical climate (Cfa according to Köppen climate classification). Temperatures are warm in winter and hot in summer. There is no dry season and rainfall is abundant with every month receiving over 100 mm (3.9 inches) of rain and the wettest month, November, receiving over 200 mm (7.9 inches) of rain on average. Precipitation falls mostly during convective storms. Due to abundant rainfall, rainforests surrounds Puerto Iguazú. The hot season lasts for up to 6 months or more, with temperatures reaching between 30 C (86F) and 35 C (95F) on most days, and dropping to 18 C (64F) to 24 C (75F) at night. Thunderstorms with heavy rains bring relief when the heat becomes too intense. The cool season runs from late April to mid September, with daily highs reaching an average of 21 C (70F) and a low of 11 C (52F) in June. These averages are reached through an alternating weather pattern, with several days with northerly winds and temperatures of around 28 C (82F) or higher and warm nights over 15 C 3 4 (59F) giving way, in a very sudden manner, to cool, rainy weather and temperatures between 10 C and 15 C (50F to 59F) for a few days, then to dry, sunny weather and colder nights (around 5 C, or 41F, and sometimes much lower) and pleasant days in the 15 C to 20 C (59F to 68F) range, and a gradual increase in temperatures as winds rotate to the north again. Frost is rare but does occur on some winters, and temperatures within a few degrees of freezing occur every winter. The record low is -4.9 C (23.1F), a surprisingly low value given the latitude, the vegetation and the low elevation of the area. Temperatures above 40 C (104 F) have been recorded in the summer. Economy and Tourism The economy is centered around tourism, given that the city s many hotels provide the principal source of jobs for its inhabitants. Many international hotels have been and are being constructed along the banks of the Iguazú River. Other of the city s tourist attractions include Three Frontiers, where the Argentine, Paraguayan and Brazilian borders meet. Puerto Iguazú is home to an active community of artisans, the La Aripuca resort, the Museum of Images of the Jungle (a collection 5 of woodcarvings), the Mbororé Museum, the Luis Honorio Rolón Municipal Nature Park, the Güira Oga Center for Bird Rehabilitation. The nearby Wanda Mines also attract gemstone and geode collectors. Operating since the 1950s, the mines are the site of some of Argentina s best agate, amethyst, quartz and topaz lodes. Transport The Tancredo Neves International Bridge links Puerto Iguazú with the Brazilian border town of Foz do Iguaçu, where the Argentine National Route 12 becomes the Brazilian BR-469. From the main bus station one can take taxis, or the municipal bus, one of whose routes run from the Three Frontiers to Iguazú National Park. The city is served by its own international airport, Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport, as well as by Foz do Iguaçu International Airport on the Brazilian side of the border. Ecology One of the last remnants of the Atlantic Forest remains in and around the Iguazu Falls. 6 This is a subtropical forest with native bamboos and a rich diversity of birds including toucans and hummingbirds. Coatis are accustomed to begging for food from park visitors. Most of the streets of Puerto Iguazu are unmetalled, red dirt, with gutters on either side (canalitos) that have grassy banks in which eels and a variety of freshwater fish, including knifefish (gymnotus) and catfish, inhabit. The canals drain into the Paraná River. Iguazu Falls Iguazu Falls, Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls waterfalls of theiguazu River on the border of the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the city of Curitiba. For most of its course, the river flows through Brazil, however, most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil. The name Iguazu comes from the Guarani or Tupi words y [ɨ], meaning water, and ûasú [waˈsu], meaning big. Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in acanoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.the first European to record the existence of the falls was the Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in Iguazu Falls Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu 7 River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu s confluence with the Paraná River. Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre-long (1.7 mi) edge divide the falls into many separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 to 82 metres (197 to 269 ft) high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level. Approximately half of the river s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil s Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese). The Devil s Throat is U-shaped, 82 metres high, 150 m wide, and 700 m long ( ,297 ft). Placenames have been given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martín Falls, Bossetti Falls, and many others. About 900 metres (2,950 ft) of the 2.7-kilometre (1.7 mi) length does not have water flowing over it. The edge of the basalt cap recedes by 3 mm (0.1 in) per year. The water of the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains into the Paraná River, a short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguazu River, where the borders of all three nations may be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities. Distribution of the falls between Argentina and Brazil The Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that resembles a reversed letter J. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil s Throat. On the right bank is the 8 Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the left side jumps are Argentine, which make up almost 80% of the falls. Tourism There are two international airports close to Iguazú Falls: the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) and the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). Argentina s airport is 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the city of Iguazu, but is closer to the falls hotels than its Brazilian counterpart. There are bus and taxi services from and to the Airport-Falls. Brazil s airport is between Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and the falls. LAN Airlines and Aerolíneas Argentinas have direct flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu International Airport Krause. Several Brazilian airlines, such as TAM Airlines, GOL, Azul, and WebJet (Currently merged with GOL) offer service from the main Brazilian cities to Foz do Iguaçu. Access The falls may be reached from two main towns, with one on either side of the falls: Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, as well as from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on the other side of the Paraná river from Foz do Iguaçu. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1987, respectively. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to future generations, just as it had been created by God and endowed with all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome and an unmatched flora located in the magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls. These were the words used by André Rebouças, an engineer, in his book Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia, which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçu Falls in At this time, Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., the first national park in the world, was four years old. On the Brazilian side, there is a walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of Devil s Throat. Helicopter rides offering aerial views of the falls have been available from Brazil, however, Argentina has prohibited such helicopter tours because of the adverse environmental impact on the flora and fauna of the falls. From Foz do Iguaçu airport, the park may be reached by taking a taxi or bus to the entrance of the park. There is an entrance fee 9 to the park on both sides. Once inside, free and frequent buses are provided to various points within the park. The town of Foz do Iguaçu is approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) away, and the airport is between the park and the town. The Argentine access, across the forest, is by a Rainforest Ecological Train. The train brings visitors to the entrance of Devil s Throat, as well as the upper and lower trails. The Paseo Garganta del Diablo is a 1-kilometre-long (0.6 mi) trail that brings visitors directly over the falls of Devil s Throat, the highest and deepest of the falls. Other walkways allow access to the elongated stretch of falls across the forest on the Argentine side and to the boats that connect to San Martin Island. Also on the Argentine side, there have been inflatable boat services that take visitors right under the falls. The Brazilian transportation system aims at allowing the increase in the number of visitors, while reducing the adverse environmental impact, through an increase in the average number of passengers per vehicle inside the park. The new transportation system has 72-passenger capacity, panoramic-view, double-deck buses. The upper deck is open, which enables visitors a broad view of the flora and fauna during the trip to the falls. The bus combustion systems are in compliance with the CONAMA (phase IV) and EURO (phase II) emissions and noise requirements. The reduction in the number of vehicles, of noise levels, and speed, is enabling tourists to observe increasing numbers of wild animals along the route. Each bus has an exclusive paint scheme, representing some of the most common wild animals found in the Iguaçú National Park, including the spotted jaguars, butterflies, raccoons, prego monkeys, coral snakes, toucans, parrots, and yellow breasted caimans. Upon seeing Iguazu, the United States First 10 Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed Poor Niagara! (which, at 50 m or 165 feet, are a third shorter). Often Iguazu also is compared with Victoria Falls in Southern Africa, which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe. Iguazu is wider, but because it is split into approximately 275 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria has the largest curtain of water in the world, at more than 1,600 m (5,249 ft) wide and over 100 m (328 ft) in height (in low flow Victoria is split into five by islands; in high flow it may be uninterrupted). The only wider falls are extremely large rapid-like falls, such as the Boyoma Falls. With the flooding of the Guaíra Falls in 1982, Iguazu currently has the sixth-greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world, following Niagara, with an average rate of 1,746 m3/s (61,660 cu ft/s). Its maximum recorded flow was 45,700 m3/s (1,614,000 cu ft/s) in June 9, 2014.[6] [7] By comparison, the average flow of Niagara Falls is 2,400 m3/s (85,000 cu ft/s), with a maximum recorded flow of 8,300 m3/s (293,000 cu ft/s). The average flow at Victoria Falls is 1,088 m3/s (38,420 cu ft/s), with a maximum recorded flow of 7,100 m3/s (250,000 cu ft/s). Mist rises between 30 and 150 metres (100 and 490 ft) from Iguazu s Devil s Throat, and more than 300 m (984 ft) above Victoria. Iguazu affords better views and walkways, however, and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person may stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Devil s Throat in Argentina has water pouring into it from three sides. Likewise, because Iguazu is split into many relatively small falls, one may view these a portion at a time. The physical structure of Victoria does not allow this, as it is essentially one waterfall that falls into a canyon. Climate Iguazu Falls experiences a humid subtropical climate (Cfa, according to the Köppen climate classification) with abundant precipitation and high temperatures yearround. Rainforest Ecological Train The Rainforest Ecological Train or Waterfalls Train (Tren Ecológico de la Selva or Tren de las Cataratas) is an environmentally friendly, 600 mm (1 ft in) narrow gauge train that runs through the forest inside Iguazú National Park in the north of the province of Misiones of Argentina. The train can transport between 120 and 150 passengers over seven kilometres (nearly five miles) of track from the Visitors Centre up to the Cataratas (Waterfalls) Station and the Garganta del Diablo (Devil s Gorge) Station. It transports approximately 900,000 visitors yearly. The train was built in England by the workshops of the Alan Keef Ltd company, in Ross-on-Wye, 200 kilometers to the west of London. It is painted all green and it con- 11 sists of a propane locomotive pulling four opened roofed wagons with wooden seats at the sides so that the passengers have direct contact with the forest. The laying of tracks borders along the Iguazu River and runs at speeds of no more than 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph) and stops when animals cross the railway lines, the journey takes about 20 minutes, with a stop at the Cataratas (Waterfalls) Station and then to the terminus Garganta del Diablo (Devil s Gorge) Station. Here you can go down and access the foot bridge, which goes to the balcony built on the edge of the huge waterfall 90 metres high called Garganta del Diablo. Stations Central Station: Main terminal consisting of a commercial area, restrooms, first-aid room and Park Ranger offices. Cataratas (Waterfalls) Station: A square, lounge area, fast food services and restrooms. Pathways to the Lower and Upper Circuits. Garganta (Devil s Gorge) Station: It has a square, restrooms and fast food premises. Direct access to the Devil s Gorge walkway, which reaches balconies built over the edge of the waterfall, at 90 metres height. Ecological_Train San Ignacio Miní San Ignacio Miní was one of the many missions founded in 1632 by the Jesuits in what the Spanish called the Province of Paraguay in the Americas during the Spanish colonial period. It is located near present-day San Ignacio valley, some 60 km north of Posadas, Misiones Province, Argentina. In 1984 it was one of four reducciones in Argentina to be designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The original mission was erected near the year 1610 by Jesuit priests José Cataldino and Simón Maceta in the region called Guayrá by the natives and La Pinería by the Spanish conquistadores in present Paraná State, Brazil. Because of the constant attacks of the Portuguese Bandeirantes, the mission moved in 1632, and did not settle in its current location until It was called San Ignacio Miní (minor in Guaraní) to distinguish it from the larger mission, San Ignacio Guazú (great). In the 18th century, the mission had a population of around 3000 people, mostly indigenous peoples. They produced rich cultural and handicraft products, which the Spanish commercialized by trade via the nearby Paraná River. After the Suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1767, the Jesuits left the mission a year later. The natives destroyed the mission in 1817, as well as other mis- 12 sions in the area. San Ignacio Mini The ruins are one of the best preserved among the several built in the territory of the Province of Paraguay, which today is divided among Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Due to its accessibility, it is one of the most visited. Overgrown by dense vegetation, the remains of the mission, built in the Guaraní baroque style, were found in It attracted greater popular interest after the 1903 expedition to the site by poet Leopoldo Lugones. The government did not undertake formal exploration and restoration until Originally the main square was bounded by the church, a cabildo, a cemetery, a monastery and some houses. The magnificent church with 74 metres length and 24 metres width was designed by Italian priest Juan Brasanelli, and build using the local red sandstone. The width of the walls are around 2 metres, what in spite of the fragile material let the constructions remain standing after over two centuries. In 1984 the ruins were declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site is the location of the Museo Jesuítico de San Ignacio Miní museum, constructed after the international recognition. Other Jesuit missions sites in the Misiones Province designated as World Heritage Sites the same year are Reducción de Santa Ana, Santa María La Mayor, and Nuestra Señora de Loreto. San Ignacio Miní was included in the inaugural 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund, drawing attention to the urgency of needed repairs and a full preservation plan. With funding from American Express, the lateral (eastern) portal was restored. Since then, the main portal of the miss
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