Iguazu Falls: I guess its a pretty nice falls

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
Trip End Jul 29, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, February 29, 2008

Nik, Patsy and I sadly took leave of Buenos Aires, but were also very much looking forward to exploring these world-renowned falls of the north.  The Iguazu park is actually a Unesco World Heritage Site and features 275 separate falls in about a 3km stretch ranging from 64m to 82m in height.  The park is shared between Brazil and Argentina with the Garganta del Diablo fall marking the border.
We went to the airport and caught out 1.5hr flight to Iguazu Falls without a hitch, which was a pleasant relief after our last episode with Aerolineas Argentina!!  We arrived in and immediately noted how lush and green and fertile the area is.  The town itself, while undoubtedly a huge tourist hub, also maintained a great down-to-earth feel and was very warm and welcoming.  We enjoyed the town immensely as well as our hostel (yup, Patsy`s first hostel) which was quiet, close to the centre, and had a great pool as well.
Anxious to get out first glimpse, we went straight-away to the bus terminal and caught the next bus out to the falls.  While waiting we met a very nice lady from Montreal who recapped all her favourite parts of the park for us and gave us a great dinner recommendation.  Well, we arrived and decided to undertake the shorter and higher trail this day.  Even though this trail is likely the poorest in terms of the views it affords (this really says more about the majesty of the whole place), it was still a spectacular start to our time here.  From this catwalk-trail that winds through the jungle and over the inlets to the falls, you are able to look over the edges of many of these magnificent falls and feel the cool spray - this felt great as the weather is always the same, hot!  We were lucky enough to see some monkeys playing right next to us on our catwalk as well - always a bonus! 
In addition to being impressed with the views we saw, the park itself is incredible and very well run.  They have excellent shops, cafes, bathrooms and a cute little train that brings you to and from the trail heads which is really convenient when it's so warm.  The buses to and from the park are cheap and efficient and the information available is really thorough and the staff is friendly.  All of this just really enhances the great experience you are bound to have.  In addition, we found everyone on the trails to be very friendly and in good spirits, always another plus!
So, now we are geared for day 2 in the park.  This day was absolutely amazing!! We did the lower trail which is renowned for it's amazing views of the falls, and it exceeded all of our expectations.  Our first priority was to make it to San Martin Island which sits directly between two major falls - on the right is San Martin falls and on the left is the Garganta del Diablo (better viewed on day 3).  So, we descended from the train station down a trail and down several hundred steps and caught views of the beautiful Boselli falls and others on the way.  We crossed to San Martin Island via boat and then climbed back up a whole ton of stairs but every one was worth it.  We ended up very close to the San Martin falls and had a great view of Boselli and all the tranquil falls that cascade down the rock face in between those two.  All the rock faces are green and lush and the spray from San Martin was cool and refreshing.  There are rainbows tucked into many places amid the falls and the whole scene is really just incredible to take in. 
We descended from here and crossed back to the mainland to embark on our boating adventure where we hop a speedboat and head directly under the falls.  This was awesome, the boat was super fast with sharp turns and we first went up the left side of the island to view Garganta del Diablo and be dipped under the falls of the Three Musketeers.  This was awesome - a great way to appreciate the shear volume of water! - then we tore over to the right side of the island and sped under the spray of San Martin.  This was the best, we were completely soaked and we did it two times.  It is amazing to see just how much spray is generated by these falls - The falls are about 65m and then the spray along rises up 30m again!! Best of all was watching Patsy`s futile attempts to stay dry and keep her contacts amid all of this - silly Patsy!! She was pretty much as wet as the rest of us despite her well-intentioned Micky Mouse poncho hahah!  We spent the rest of our day climbing back up the mainland and continuing our loop to capture more views of the Diablo falls.  This day was literally spectacular.  We enjoyed it immensely and really had a chance to appreciate the falls from every perspective.  We spent the early evening remembering the beauty of the falls as we sipped wine poolside. 
On the third and final day, we returned to the park to finally get as close as we could to the Garganta del Diablo.  This was quite incredible - the park has built this amazing long catwalk (1km) over the rivers right to the mouth of this waterfall.  This U-section of the falls is 150m wide and 700m long and is shared between Argentina and Brazil.  It is the best area in the whole park to really appreciate the power and magnitude of the falls - the volume of water is unfathomable.  Standing on the platform, 82m above where the water hits, we are still being soaked in spray.  Just to feel that and hear the roar of the falls was very very rewarding.  We were very happy with the order that we visited the park in - the first day was a nice introduction, the second day offered the most stunning and best variety of views, but the third day really showed you the shear size and power of these falls. 
To wrap up our wonderful and peaceful experience at the park, we headed to the Sheraton hotel that is situated right inside the park and took them up on their all you can eat lunch buffet.  The food was endless, as were the desserts (think endless dulce de leche), and the view was focused right on the Diablo falls.  It was perfect and we all enjoyed our meal and quality time immensely. 
After perusing the park`s souvenir selection together and picking up a couple of cool items, Nik and I stopped at a precious stones workshop on the way back to town and were blown away with the variety of precious stones mined in Argentina, the quality of them, and best of all, how inexpensive everything was.  They have amethyst, lapizlazulli, onyx, all types of quartz, rodochrosita, topaz, etc.  We picked up a little bling for next to nothing and returned to meet Patsy by the pool and drink a little more wine together before dinner.    
During one of our touring days of the town of Iguazu, we visited the viewpoint from which you can see Paraguay and Brazil - it is the convergence of two rivers that serve as borders for these three countries (Parana and Iguazu rivers).  We shopped for alfajores, futbol paraphernalia, and later on, we went for a very entertaining lunch.  A little boy about 8 years old approached us while we sat and after kissing each of our hands, he proceeded to tell me and Patsy how pretty we were and remarked on the beauty of Canada as a country as if he had been there.  He asked permission to take off my sunglasses and then gasped with the apparent beauty he found in my eyes.  This little kid was too much, he was just awesome.  He then adorned us with his beads and bracelets and kept the compliments coming.  So, of course we bought these beads from this gifted little salesman.  When the waiter came by and was reaming him out for talking to us (not allowed usually in restaurants), he said he wasn`t talking to us, he was only admiring our beauty.  Then the waiter said he would give this little guy a bruise to admire, they laughed and then the little guy was off.  I love the beads we bought from him for that reason alone, how funny he was!!
The evenings were equally enjoyable in Iguazu.  In addition to our delicious meal the first night, we ran into some friends from Bariloche and shared a meal with them the next night.  At this restaurant, they featured live music as well - of course including pan flute - and it was so excellent that we returned the next night for that reason alone.  The final night Nik, Patsy and I enjoyed an authentic Argentinian parilla together (of course minus the blood sausage, tripe, and other typically Arg. parilla meats that we don`t like - essentially we created a North American parilla...).  With some delicious wine from the region and the nice cool evening air, we thoroughly enjoyed this last meal.  
The next morning we saw Patsy off on her shuttle to the airport.  It was sad to have her go, again 3 weeks seemed so short.  But sharing so many places together, including Iguazu, was very special.  As Nik and I took off on our 22hr bus to Tucuman, I kept waking up and thinking Patsy was still there. 
Well, with all of our parents safely back in harsh winter weather, Nik and I are currently enjoying the North of Argentina and our much lighter packs. 

More soon, Hope everyone is well.  xoxo Us.
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