Article written by Susi Ma
Coming out of the lush green jungle, the first thing to hit you is the deafening sound. Soon after the panorama opens up and you see the enormity of the Iguaçu Falls (called Iguazu on the Argentinian side). Vast network of endless waterfalls, crash into the abyss of deep canyons, carved through millennia by the sheer force of water.
Iguaçu National Park and its sister World Heritage property, Iguazú National Park in Argentina, conserve one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world, comprised of a system of numerous cascades and rapids nearly three kilometres wide within the setting of a lush and diverse sub-tropical broadleaf forest. The permanent water cloud from the cataracts forms an impressive scene that surrounds the forested islands and riverbanks resulting in a visually stunning and constantly changing interface between land and water.
The 5-Star Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is located right inside the Iguaçu National Park. This offers the unbeatable advantage of being able to visit the waterfalls early in the morning before the tourists arrive, and to sit on the front porch, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to fill up the vast sky.
Most come for the waterfalls, but the biodiversity of fauna and flora inside the National Park is simply breath-taking.
Iguaçu National Park forms with the contiguous Iguazú National Park in Argentina one of the largest protected remnants of the paranaense subtropical forest, belonging to the interior Atlantic Forest. The rich biodiversity includes some endangered and vulnerable species such as the Jaguar (Panthera onca), the Ocelot (Leopardus tigrinus), the Puma (Puma concolor), the Margay (Leopardus wiedii), the Jaguarondi (Puma yagouaroundi), the Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the black-fronted piping guan (Aburria jacutinga), the Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the Bush dog (Speothos venaticus), the Pygmy brocket (Mazama nana), the Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), the Monjolo or Surubim of the Iguaçu (Steindachneridion sp), the Piracanjuba (Brycon orbignyanus) and the Fasciated tiger heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum).
Within the grounds of the colonial style Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, bright tropical birds like the Toco Toucan with its large vibrant orange bill, very useful in robbing abundant Red-rumped Cacique chicks out of their tree nests, navy blue and yellow Plush-crested Jay watching attentively for any possible food, marron-bellied parakeets jostle for nesting rights, while the impossibly small but gorgeous seven-coloured tanager work tenaciously around the clock to feed their chicks with insects. The well pampered hotel guests are so used to seeing the abundant wildlife, they don’t even make a fuss when large black and white tegu lizards slither around the al fresco dining areas looking for morsels.
While out in the park, It is mesmerising to watch huge flocks of grey dusky swifts, with wings which seem way too large for their small bodies, huge captivating eyes above tiny beaks, dart with incredible agility in and out of the thundering waterfalls, bringing food to their chicks in roosts perched on vertical cliffs behind the falls.
FASHIOPOLIS contributors were kindly assisted by the warm and welcoming staff at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, with special thanks to Ms. Andrea Emmerling, and Ms. Veronica Chavez. Guests are pampered with delicious food, from abundant buffets to intimate fine-dining on the front porch, relaxing spa and massage treatments, to creative “Cachaça” (Brazilian rum made of distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice) Cocktail Tasting, to Pre-Dawn Nature Walk Experiences.
Location : Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
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