Iguazu Falls

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2009

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Flag of Argentina  , Litoral,
Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday 3rd January 2009

Iguazu Falls

We took a bus ride to see the Iguazu Falls which are on the Argentina/Brazil/Paraguay border in the tropical rain-forest (the top right-hand corner of Argentina, to be geographically correct). When I say a bus ride it was a 17 hour, overnight, luxury coach journey with seats that reclined into beds & two meals which were almost up to economy airline standards. We set off at 9:00 pm & arrived in Iguazu, sweaty & unshaven at 2:00 pm the next day. Puerto Iguazu itself was a quiet town & not overrun with trippers as we expected considering there is a coach full of trippers arriving every ten minutes every morning.

The first part of the journey (while I was awake) was mainly through forest. There were thousands of hectares of reforestation (assuming nature doesn't plant trees in neat rows). We saw several heavily loaded logging trucks on the road. The final part of the journey was open grassland with grazing cattle mixed with areas of thick (rain)forest (I must confess I have no idea what a tropical rainforest looks like so it might not have been).

At Puerto Iguazu we stayed in a Hostel, we had a decent size double room with ensuite bathroom & aircon (it's interesting that they make more money cramming 4 people into a much smaller 4 bunk dorm than a double room, as they charge per head).
On the first night they had a BBQ for about 20 of us - loads of meat, slow roasted on a large charcoal grill, which we washed down with a couple of bottles of Mendoza wine (what else !). The conversations with the locals were very interesting, well with those who could speak English (our Spanish is still limited to ordering beer).

Barbara sat next to a good looking, snaked-hipped young man called Fabian & discovered that he was a tango enthusiast, which made her day. He is taking lessons at the famous "La Real" tango hall in central Buenos Aires & invited us to come one Wednesday night to see him strut his stuff. He has lessons for 2 hours followed by a milonga (tango dance) into the small hours - the tango is where you dance cheek-to-cheek, all the way down!

[Did you hear the joke about two people dancing the tango in the street - a dog come out & threw a bucket of water over them].

The next day we got up early to beat the crowds at Iguazu National Park. It didn't work, there were queues for everything. The falls, however, are spectacular, there are so many of them all in a huge crescent. It is very easy to get up close to them as they have built metal walkways over the water that lead to the falls so you can get right up to the edge of the waterfalls. They have arranged a series of paths to both the top & bottom of most falls for the best views. The most famous "Garganta del Diablo" (Devil's Throat) pours millions of gallons of water, 80m down into a ravine & you can get to within 10m of its head !

I went on a "Nautical Adventure" where they take you in a 20 seat powerboat right under some of the most spectacular falls, needless to say I got absolutely soaked & the photos were rubbish, but it was great fun.

Although we didn't go for a trek through the jungle, we saw quite a lot of exotic wildlife walking around the paths including alligators, turtles, giant yellow striped lizards & nasty raccoon-like animals that come up to visitors & demanded food with menaces.
The birds that we saw were spectacular but we wished we had taken a trip to the bird sanctuary where they have hundreds of exotic species (we only heard about it on the bus going back). We were going to take a bus ride to see the falls from the Brazilian side but their viewing areas were further back from the falls, so probably not worth the effort (I think the locals were just trying to sell extra tours & taxi rides).
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holly08121 on

Shame I wasn't able to go to see this, looks lovely.

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