Buenos Aires to Iguazu

Trip Start Feb 16, 2009
Trip End Mar 06, 2009

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Where I stayed
Amerian Portal del Iguazu Hotel

Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, March 2, 2009

The word Iguazu was derived from the native Guarani word meaning "great waters" and with a flow rate of 550 cubic ft. per second there is no doubt these are great waters. The falls were discovered by Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541 and are located on the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay (Triple Frontier) just above the confluence of the Parana and Iguazu Rivers. The Iguazu River has its source in the coastal mountains of Brazil just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean but flows away from the coast for about 900 miles before entering the Parana River. Iguazu Falls, or the cataratasas as they are known in Argentina, are the number one tourist attraction in South America. The falls are not just one or two large falls but a series of over 270 falls scattered along a 1.5 mile fault in the sandstone and basalt that covers this plateau in south-central South America. The falls must be viewed from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides in order to appreciate the shear grandeur of this spectacular natural wonder of the world. The Argentine side has the best up-close views while the Brazilian side has the spectacular panoramic views. How spectacular are the falls? Well, when Eleanor Roosevelt first saw the falls she said "Poor Niagara".
After arriving at the airport in Iguazu, Argentina, we drive a short distance to the Iguazu National Park on the Argentine side where we will take a short train ride to one of two stations that act as the trailheads for a series of hikes to various overlook points. The first hike takes us over a mile long catwalk to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), a 250 ft. leap of water into the gorge of Iguazu Falls. This is the main waterfall of the falls and looks completely different from the Argentine and Brazilian sides. From the Argentine side you stand directly over the chasm and the roar of the falls is deafening as you marvel at the rainbows created by the delicate spray that drifts past your face. As you peer over the edge, holding on for dear life, the mist clears and your eyes dart from one cataract to another as you marvel at this jaw-dropping spectacle. As we make our way back to the train station we encounter Toucans, butterflies, and a Yacare Caiman, a small tropical crocodile.
Today it is very warm and humid and we have already encountered one heavy rainstorm and another one is threatening. We take the train to the Cataratas Station for a quick hike along the Upper Circuit trail which provides excellent views of the smaller cataracts along the Argentine side. It has been a long day and the park closes at 6PM so we make our way back to the bus for a ride to our hotel, the Amerian Iguazu. This hotel opened in July 2008 and is located on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Parana and Iguazu Rivers. As we check-in we spot the incredible pool and immediately decide a quick dip is just what we need to cool off.
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