Travel tips

Published on April 24th, 2014 | by Ella Benjamin


The natural high of Iguazu falls

Read time: a bit over 1 minute

Forget Disney Land, Iguazu Falls (or Foz Du Iguacu if you’re visiting from Brazil) is the happiest, most euphoric, most uncontrollable smile-inducing place on earth. We’ve even got the science to prove it.

Straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls stretch almost three km and is the widest set of cascades anywhere in the world. Yes it sound weird, it’s just a waterfall, and how could it possibly be better than visiting the home of Mickey Mouse?

But, after spending two days there giggling like a kid at Christmas (or anyone at Christmas, for that matter) we wondered how a whole lot of flowing water could have such a strong effect on a person. As it turns out, in nature, there are things called negative ions that are created as air molecules break apart around moving air and flowing water.

The air around mountains, pounding surf, and large waterfalls all contain elevated levels of these negative ions. It’s those negative ions that produce biochemical reactions in the human body that increase levels of the mood-altering chemical serotonin (that stuff that makes you happy).

Basically, it’s pretty much impossible to feel tired or depressed near waterfalls. Instead, you find yourself in a fantastic mood, with increased alertness, less stress and more energy. Yep, SCIENCE.

So as you stand above the roaring Devil’s Throat admiring this incredible force of nature, remember to breathe in all those negative ions and enjoy that serotonin high.

Insider tip: pay the extra money to take a boat ride under the falls. You will get completely soaked but the rush is worth every penny.

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About the Author

My travel highlights include: climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo, sand boarding in Peru, eating Brazilian BBQ in Rio, sleeping in a monastery in Japan and cruising next to hippos in Kenya. I’ve lived in the Middle East and in America’s deep south, and one time I met Prince Harry in Las Vegas. The end.

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