The Iguaçu Falls are often compared to Niagara and Victoria falls, but arguably, they are more spectacular than either, being taller than the former and wider than the latter. Iguaçu comprises around 275 discrete falls (depending on the flow), which are up to 280 feet high and drop from an edge more than a mile-and-a-half long. Located where the Iguaçu River tumbles off the Paraná Plateau, they form a boundary between Brazil and Argentina, and are surrounded by a national park that contains spectacular birds such as toucans and harpy eagles, and mammals including tapirs, ocelots and even jaguars. The colonial-style 193-room Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the only property within the park, which allows its guests privileged access. Request a Deluxe Falls View Room. Activities include nature walks, helicopter tours and speedboat trips to the base of the falls. The airport is located nine miles away, from where there are flights to the major Brazilian cities, including Curitiba, three hours by road from the Ponta dos Ganchos beach resort.
AT A GLANCE
LIKE: Elegant colonial architecture; location inside the national park.
DISLIKE: The ubiquitous tour groups; noise from helicopters viewing the falls.
GOOD TO KNOW: The restaurant serves a delicious feijoada, a traditional Brazilian stew of beans with salted pork and jerked beef.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas 91 Deluxe Double, $435; Junior Suite, $605. Rodovia BR 469 KM 32, Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Foz do Iguaçu. Tel. (55) 45-2102-7000.