The name “Iguazu” comes from the Guarani or Tupi words “y” meaning “water”, and “ûasú” meaning “big”. Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of Brazilian State Paraná and Argentine Province Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that seems like a reverse letter “J”. On the right bank is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls, and the left side jumps are Argentines, which make up almost 80% of the falls.
Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometers upriver from the Iguazu’s confluence with the Paraná River. Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre-long edge divide the falls into numerous separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 to 82 meters high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level.
About half of the river’s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil’s Throat. The Devil’s Throat is U-shaped, 82 metres high, 150 m wide, and 700 m long. Placenames have been given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others.
The falls can be reached from the two main towns 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.