Iguassu Falls, Brazil – Worthy World Wonder (20.09.12)

With the world’s sporting focus now fully on Brazil– 2014 FIFA Football World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics – the country’s Tourism Institute Embratur plans to invest $40 million on marketing Brazil from now until 2014, in seventeen key countries.

Having personally travelled extensively through Brazil and having successfully arranged trips there for Nomadic Thoughts’ clients for over twenty years, I am a great fan of all things ‘samba-land’. With its enormous variety of natural landscapes, vibrant culture and combination of sun & fun, their planned surge in social media, television and print advertising is something the tourist industry will welcome.

Iguassu Falls, shared with Argentina, will always be one of the country’s iconic sites and will, I am sure, appear many times on our screens over the next six years. It is one of my favourite South America locations, genuinely living up to its ‘wonder of the world’ billing.

Having also visited Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe), Angel Falls (Venezuela) and Niagara Falls (USA/Canada) I think the majestic jungle setting and seemingly never-ending world of 275 individual falls, spanning 3 kms, makes Iguassu stand out amongst them all.

The thunderous roar of the Iguassu River plunging over the Parana Plateau escarpment, at the aptly named Devils Throat, is something you will never forget. Similarly swimming in the flat mid-level pools, on the Argentinean side of the Falls, just metres before the water plummets down into the 2.7 km-long torrent below, allows you to feel as close to nature as you will ever need to be.

UNESCO designated both the Brazilian and Argentinean National Parks World Heritage Sites in 1986, because in addition to the awesome power of the Falls themselves, the beautiful setting is inhabited by a huge variety of local flora & fauna. Walking through the adjacent jungle paths and across the frighteningly impressive over-water cat walks, I remember clouds of butterflies, parrots and toucans flying amongst the trees, flowers and ‘hobbit-sized ferns’.

If you are planning to visit Brazil before, during or after their carnival of sport make sure you factor in a trip to Iguassu. It will surely be one of your most memorable travel highlights.

As a destination the Falls will get busier. Here in London we are already seeing the effects of Embratur’s new marketing surge – with over 100 black cabs and 500 London buses adorned with adverts for Brazil.