Long ago, so says Guarani legend, there was a girl named Naipi, so beautiful she could still the waters of the Iguassu. She was to be sacrificed to the Serpent God, M’Boi, but tried to escape downstream with her lover. M’Boi was furious and began making huge cracks in the earth. Naipi was turned into a rock as her lover was thrown from their boat. The Iguassu Falls were made.
WHETHER OR NOT you believe the story, it is easy to understand the desire to attribute the falls’ existence to a higher power. The three-kilometer chain is made up of 275 individual cascades where water flows at 1000 cubic meters per second. There could hardly be a more compelling reminder of nature’s power the whole world over.
As the only hotel in Brazil’s Iguassu Park, we have exclusive access to the falls in the evening and at dawn. Take in lunar rainbows and observe the chutes in the light of the moon, free from disturbance. It’s a mystical experience, perhaps only surpassed by magnificent bird’s-eye-views of Devil’s Throat from helicopter.
The park’s treasures are seemingly endless, so rise at dawn, and enjoy them in tranquility before other visitors arrive. Early morning walking tours are a must for nature lovers, and when crowds begin to gather, you can find sanctuary in the bird park. Want to head deeper into the jungle? Take the poço preto trail, which combines a jeep journey through the forest with a cruise down the Iguassu river. Get up close to the falls in an in inflatable dingy or head across the border to see Iguassu from Argentina’s perspective. The close-up views are in contrast to our long sweeping vistas. Just make sure to pack a raincoat.
If for any reason, you’ve need a break from nature there’s plenty to do in nearby Foz do Iguaçu. Empório com Arte offers tasty plates in a quirky and charming setting, or head to Capitão Bar for cocktails on the terrace. It is a cosmopolitan city and the brilliant white mosque in Jardim Central is well worth a visit. The temple outside of town is one of Latin America’s biggest Buddhist centers. With verdant gardens to meditate in, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon. It’s also close to the must-visit triple frontier. Here, the Tancredo Neves Bridge will take you to Argentina, while the Ponte Internacional de Fraternidade will lead you into Paraguay. The choice is yours. But we’re pretty sure you’ll already be missing Belmond Hotel das Cataratas.