Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Two Top Natural Wonders: Iguazu Falls and the Amazon River

article from November 14, 2011
By Jamie Douglas

The voting stopped on 11/11/11 at 11:11:11 and the results are in! The "New 7 Wonders of Nature" have been selected! And the results give South America two well-deserved winners: the Amazon River and Iguazu Falls, a double whammy for Brazil and a partial one for Argentina, as the falls are shared between the two nations.

The Iguazu Falls are a very impressive series of about 275 separate falls, ranging in height from 200 feet to 270 feet along the 1.7-mile fault line that created them. I think anyone with the means to get there should experience this wonderful ecological area, home to thousands of species of plants and animals. It is a chance to explore a natural environment that has ceased to exist in many areas of Brazil.

Getting there is very simple from Brazil, Paraguay or Argentina. There are frequent flights as well as very comfortable buses serving the area, where an abundance of hotels, restaurants and other tourist-related facilities ensure that visitors will be taken care of for the recommended stay of at least a couple of days to really be able to enjoy the majesty of the falls.

The Amazon River, having also been chosen to join in the exclusive company of the other six natural wonders of the world, has recently been determined to be the world’s longest river, after satellite images proved its source to be hundreds of miles further than was previously thought, displacing the Nile as the holder of that honor. Regardless of any claims to length, it is doubtlessly the greatest river in the world, discharging a whopping 20% of the world’s freshwater into the oceans of our planet. Climates from extreme cold in the high Andes, where the Amazon River originates down to the oppressive equatorial heat of the Peruvian and Brazilian jungles are home to over one-third of the world’s flora and fauna so far discovered by scientists.

An amazing storehouse of life in all its forms has been created by the forces of nature. But it is now in danger of being decimated by human activity, such as mining, cattle ranching and soy cultivation. In addition, the energy-hungry nation of Brazil is currently fighting over construction of one of the world’s largest dams in this ecologically sensitive region. It is a battle of progress vs. preservation, a struggle that directly affects thousands of indigenous jungle dwellers in the region as well as the environment of a zone that plays such an enormous role in the planet’s ecology.

Jamie Douglas
San Rafael, Mendoza
In the Heart of Malbec Land!   

I encourage you to write me at cruzansailor [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or suggestions you may have. Disclaimer: I am not in any travel-related business. My advice is based on my own experiences and is free of charge (Donations welcome). It is always my pleasure to act as a beneficial counselor to those who are seekers of the next adventure.