Parque Nacional do Iguaçu

Top choice waterfall in Paraná

Image by Martin Bisof Five Hundred Pixels

Brazil's second-oldest national park, created in 1939, protects one of South America's most magical and majestic sights, Iguaçu Falls, part of the largest waterfall system in the world. The 1200m-long Trilha das Cataratas ('Waterfall Trail') is one of Brazil's best moments – a series of islands cut the river into numerous waterfalls along the path, each sparking one 'wow' moment after another until it all culminates in a magnificent display of Mother Nature's raw power at Garganta do Diabo ('Devil's Throat').

You can’t miss the shiny entrance to the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, which houses bathrooms, ATMs, lockers, souvenir shops, left-luggage facilities and a vast parking lot (R$22). You can purchase your ticket in advance on the website and pick it up in the preferential line at the ticket windows, or buy from on-site machines (if you have a chip-in-pin card). Once ticketed, you will be directed to board a free double-decker bus, which departs every 10 minutes.

In addition to the main event, the park and its environs offers trails, boat trips, whitewater rafting and other nature-focused adventures – as well as coati galore (devious but adorable food-begging mammals related to raccoons – don't feed them!). Remember, it’s always wet at the falls, and water attracts sunlight. Pack rain gear and sunblock. Bug repellent is a must on the walking trails. Also note that lighting for photography is best in the morning on the Brazilian side.

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