iguazú river

Iguazú National Park

The Iguazú National Park is a national park of Argentina, located in the Iguazú Department, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of .

History

The park was created in 1934 and it contains one of the greatest natural beauties of Argentina, the Iguazu Falls, surrounded by the subtropical jungle. Across the Iguazu River lies its Brazilian counterpart (Iguaçu National Park). Both sites were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, in 1984 and 1986.

The area of the park was inhabited 10,000 years ago by the hunter-gatherers of the Eldoradense culture. They were displaced around 1,000 CE by the Guaraní, who brought new agricultural technologies, and were displaced in turn by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 16th century, though their legacy is still alive in this area (the name of the park and the river is Guaraní y guasu, "large water"). The first European to visit the zone was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1542; Jesuit missions followed in 1609.

Flora and fauna

The fauna of the park includes several endangered species: jaguar, jaguarundi, tapir, ocelot, tirica, anteater, pavas de monte, the jungle eagle, and the Yacare Caiman. One can also find birds like the vencejo de cascada and large toucans, mammals like the coatí, and a diversity of butterflies. The vinaceous-breasted parrot, named for its wine-colored plumage, is found in this park.

The Iguazú River ends in the Paraná River 23 km beyond the falls, after a 1320 km course. Inside the park it becomes up to 1,500 m wide and turns first south, then north, forming a large U-shape. Its banks are densely populated by trees, including the ceibo (Cockspur coral tree), whose flower is Argentina's national flower. The flora of the park also features lapacho negro and lapacho amarillo (family Bignoniaceae), as well as palmito trees and the 40-metre-high palo rosa (family Apocynaceae).

Recreation

Admission for non-Argentine residents is ARS $40 (around USD $13), and ARS $20 the following day if one gets their ticket stamped before leaving the park on the first day, the admission includes transport on the Rainforest Ecological Train which permits visitors access to different walkways. The park only accepts Argentine pesos for entrance. Park hours are 8.00 to 18.00 between April and September, and 7.30 to 18.30 between October and March. To get from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina to Iguazu Falls National Park, one can utilize the El Practico bus sevice which departs from the main bus terminal in Puerto Iguazu and runs service approximately every 30 minutes between 7.15 and 19.15. Each way ticket is ARS $5 as of August 2008. Bus tickets can be purchased at the bus terminal, or on the bus. Exact change is not necessary.

See also

Rainforest Ecological Train

External links

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