Iguazu Falls, Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls (Portuguese: Cataratas do Iguaçu[kataˈɾatɐz du iɡwaˈsu]; Spanish: Cataratas del Iguazú[kataˈɾatas ðel iɣwaˈsu]; Guarani: Chororo Yguasu[ɕoɾoɾo ɨɣʷasu]) are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of Brazilian state Paraná and Argentine province Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the city of Curitiba. It flows through Brazil for most of its course. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil.
The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guarani or Tupi words "y" [ɨ], meaning "water", and "ûasú "[waˈsu], meaning "big". Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The first European to find the falls was the Spanish conquistadorÁlvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541.
Created by federal decree nr. 1035 of January 10, 1939, the Park comprises a total area of 185,262.5 hectares and a length of about 420 km, 300 km of which are natural borders by bodies of water and the Brazilian and Argentinean sides together comprise around 225 thousand hectares. The park shares with Iguazú National Park in Argentina one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls, extending over some 2,700 m. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall are conducive to the growth of lush vegetation. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.