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By Davi Baldussi, Contributing Reporter

Iguaçu Falls from above, photo by Christian Knepper / Embratur.
Iguaçu Falls from above, photo by Christian Knepper/Embratur.

RIO DE JANEIRO – The Iguaçu Falls, on the Brazil’s border with Argentine, was voted by more than 19,000 readers of The Guardian newspaper of the UK, as their favorite oversea tourist attraction.

To claim this title, which was announced in the end of October, the Iguaçu Falls had to beat the ruined city of Machu Picchu (in Peru), last year’s favorite pick. The remaining top five ranking is comprised of such well know landmarks as: Angkor Temple Complex (Cambodia), Gran Canyon (USA), Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

In Brazil the falls are located in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, that is 650km distant from Curitiba, capital city of the state of Paraná. More specifically, the falls are found in Iguaçu National Park, which is 17 miles distant from Foz (doesn’t mean fall). Most of the visitor’s of the city are Brazilians that pass through Foz to get to Paraguay and buy some “goods”, electronics, tires, drink’s, perfume, almost anything for a cheaper price.

The Iguaçu Falls is one of the most visited spot’s in Brazil. Over one million tourist’s entered the Iguaçu National Park in 2008. It is named by Indian word Iguaçú, which means “big water”. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 2.7 kilometers (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River. Some of the individual falls are up to 82 meters (269 ft) in height, though the majority are about 64 metres (210 ft).

The river is 1,200 wide upstream from the Falls and downstream it narrows down to a 65m channel. In the Brazilian territory the total width of the Fall is around 800m and 1,900m on the Argentinean side. Its geological formation dates back approximately 150 million years. But the National Park of Iguazú was only created and organized in 1939, this year completes 70 years of history with millions of visitor’s to celebrate.

In 1986 Iguaçu National Park was admitted, by UNESCO, as a Natural Patrimony of Humanity. Now the falls, one of the biggest in the world, is competing with 28 other worldwide beauty’s of nature to become one of the New 7 Wonder’s of Nature. For this title the Iguazú Falls need’s a lot more vote’s than just the reader’s of The Guardian. It is expected that until 2011, when the new wonder’s will be known, at least one billion votes should be registered.

Iguaçu Falls, photo by Christian Knepper/Embratur.
Iguaçu Falls, photo by Christian Knepper/Embratur.

Despite thousands of words of description, the experience of seeing the falls closely is indescribable. “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous”, long said Leonardo da Vinci.

A ticket from Rio de Janeiro to Foz do Iguaçu costs R$450, around R$260 dollars. By bus it’s practically half the price but a way longer trip. Below follows a brief list with Hotel’s in Foz do Iguaçu, separated by price.

Economy:
– Hotel Basso (45) 3574-2374, Hotel do Gaúcho (45) 3573-6931, Hotel Iraipu (45) 3528-7061.

Medium:
– Águas do Iguaçu 3521-6000, Costa Oeste Hotel (45) 3528-0155, Hotel Alvorada (45) 3528-0202.

Expensive:
– Bristol Viale Cataratas Hotel (45) 2105-7200
– Falls galli Hotel (45) 3520-1002
– Hotel Courbon Iguassu Golf Resort (45) 3521-3400

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