En la Garganta del Diablo
Trip Start Sep 22, 2010
9Trip End Oct 06, 2010
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Where I stayed
We took the city bus again and arrived at the park around 8:30. We did our research ahead of time and went straight to a long 2 hour trail deep in the forest that gets visited by less than 1% of the park's guests. We were promised lots of animal sightings and a private waterfall. We were not disappointed. Along the way we saw and heard tons of different birds beautiful birds, iguanas, very colorful insects and, of course, bands of capuchin monkeys! These guys were everywhere and they were simply mesmerizing to watch. We just hung out and watched them leap from tree to tree, sometimes 100 feet above the ground. They were very adorable.
The end of the trail led us to a 120 foot tall waterfall where we could look down right from the top of it.
Then we climbed down to the base and hung out at the pool for a little while. Then it was time to haul butt back up and out of the trail since there was lots more to do.
We went straight to the cafeteria around 11am to grab one beef and one chicken milanesa sandwich and threw them in our pack. We hopped on the little train that took us all the way to the edge of the park. We ate lunch out there and then started the Garganta del Diablo circuit. This took us across very calm and serene waterways with very little current. There were lots of turtles, alligators, birds, etc. It was extremely peaceful and quiet, a stark contrast to what was lying only ¼ mile ahead. The sound of the waterfalls started to get louder and louder as we approached the largest and most menacing Garnata del Diablo section which stands for Devil’s Throat. What a name for this set of falls. The sound and fury is simply menacing! It was amazing how close were able to get to the most powerful section. Only a simply built, somewhat rigid, railing stood between us and a shear drop off into emptiness.
We could have stayed there all day long! It really does make Niagara Falls seem like a faucet. This set of falls alone dwarfs it in size, power, and beauty.
Add to that the other 275 individual falls throughout the park that make up the entire 1.5 mile wide set of Cataratas del Iguazu (Iguazu Falls) and you are literally left speechless.
As part of our package, we took a 30 minute long ecological paddle raft along the upper Iguazu River back to the main area. The current on this river was mild but it was amazing to know that we were only 150 meters from the falls at any given time with no fences or barriers preventing us from paddling over to them. However, our section was very quiet and calm through the dense forest. We saw more birds, crocodiles, monkeys, etc. It was a very nice trip after all of the hiking we were doing.
Now it was about 2:45 and we knew we had to get to the San Martin boat to take us to San Martin Island. The problem was that the last boat left at 3:30 and we had no idea how far we had to go to get there. We pretty much hiked full speed for the next 30 minutes for about 2 miles with a great deal of stairs to get down to the boat launch. We were constantly using words like 'permiso’ and ‘perdon’ to get by the tons of people on the tight catwalks. We were almost running by the most beautiful vistas just to catch the boat. We made it on to the last boat and got to the island around 3:35. We were told we could only take 1 of the 2 trails as the last boat left the island at 4pm. So, we ran up a massive flight of slippery, unsafe stairs about 1,000 vertical feet and then did a fast hike to the San Martin vista. Wow, it was so worth the enormous amount of energy we spent to get there. We were able to get right up to the San Martin falls from only a few hundred feet away across the river! It was breathtaking!
We had to pull a Clark Griswold and turn around to try to catch the other trail. Some dude stopped us so we had to climb all the way back down to the beach area to wait for the boat. This was such a beautiful area too. Harmony was able to wade in the water with these massive falls as the backdrop.
We took the boat back and then proceeded to complete the lower circuit and then do the upper circuit. The upper circuit brought allowed us to literally cross over the tops of many of the 250 foot tall falls! They were metal catwalks that were built right across the falls. The floor was grated so we could see right through. This was a very unique experience that can really mess with your head and cause vertigo. We do not recommend this trek for those who are afraid of heights. However, the end of the trail brought us right up to the top of the San Martin Falls. Yet another amazing view was there for us to take in. This was an excellent way to close out the visit to the falls.
We made the long trek back to the park exit, stopped by some gift shops, and then packed on to the last city bus. Unfortunately, we had to stand for the 40 minute trip because there were so many people. This was not the best thing to do after hiking very strenuously for at least 10 miles throughout the day. Back at the hotel we hit the "hot" tub which wasn’t really hot since nobody really uses it but it was still nice for the sore muscles. Back to the lobby for dinner. Harm had the same meal again, surprise surprise. Mike saw filet mignon with cinnamon sauce and went right for that. They delivered three filets perfectly cooked and the taste was amazing! Only 1 glass of wine this time, no bottle, and the bill was chump change (~160 pesos or ~$40). Remember, this restaurant is considered very expensive since the food is top notch and it is so removed from the main town.
We went back to the room to reflect back on this whirlwind 1.5 days in Puerto Iguazu and the even more whirlwind trip as a whole. We have no idea how many miles we will travel from beginning to end but it will probably be close to 15,000 miles.
Now, the fun part starts. This is being typed at 1pm on Monday, October 4. We are about to leave the room to go to the bus station. Our bus leaves at 3pm and will take 18 hours to get to Buenos Aires (overnight). We arrive around 9am! We will have a great deal of taxi rides and shuttle buses to get from bus station, to the domestic airport to get our luggage, and then to the international airport 1.5 hours away! We won’t leave for the US until 9pm. We arrive in Dallas some time on Wednedsay, layover, and then to JFK to arrive around 2pm Wednesday. Yeah, we won’t be looking at a shower or real bed for well over 48 hours from now!
It was well worth it though because we had an amazing trip and journey. We hope you all enjoyed our travel blog. Sorry the spotty internet didn’t allow for daily updates.
We will have high resolution photos and high definition pictures to share after we return.