The Iguazú National Park, located in the northeastern tip of Argentina, is situated on a basaltic line spanning the border with Brazil. The semicircular waterfall at the heart of this site is made up of many cascades producing vast sprays of water and is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.
The Iguazú National Park is a World Heritage property of approximately 67,000 ha (165,500 acres) located in Misiones Province in the northeastern tip of Argentina and bordering the Brazilian state of Parana to the north. Iguazú National Park, jointly with its sister Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, is among the world’s visually and acoustically most stunning natural sites for its massive waterfalls. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1984.
Iguazú Falls: Across a width of almost 3 km (1.8 mi) the Iguazú or Iguaçu River, drops vertically some 80 m (260 ft) in a series of cataracts. The river, aptly named after the indigenous term for "great water" forms a large bend in the shape of a horseshoe in the heart of the two parks and constitutes the international border between Argentina and Brazil before it flows into the mighty Parana River less than 25 km (15.5 mi) downriver from the park. Large clouds of spray permanently soak the many river islands and the surrounding riverine forests, creating an extremely humid micro-climate favoring lush and dense sub-tropical vegetation harboring a diverse fauna.
In addition to its striking natural beauty and the magnificent liaison between land and water Iguazu National Park and the neighboring property constitute a significant remnant of the Atlantic Forest, one of the most threatened global conservation priorities. This forest biome historically covering large parts of the Brazilian coast and extending into northern Argentina and Uruguay, as well as Eastern Paraguay, is known for its extreme habitat and species diversity, as well as its high degree of endemism.
Around 2000 plant species, including some 80 tree species have been suggested to occur in the property along with around 400 bird species, including the elusive Harpy Eagle. The parks are also home to some several wild cat species and rare species such as the broad-snouted Caiman.
Iguazú National Park has a long conservation history dating back to the early 20th Century and was declared a national park in 1934 illustrating the longstanding recognition of its quality. Jointly with contiguous Iguaçu National Park in Brazil, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986, it constitutes one of the most significant remnants of the so-called Interior Atlantic Forest.
Today, the parks are mostly surrounded by a landscape that has been strongly altered due to heavy logging, both historically and into the present, the intensification and expansion of both industrial and small-scale agriculture, plantation forestry for pulp and paper and rural settlements.