Saturday, May 31, 2014

Iguazu Falls

Treading the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls consists of 275 magnificent drops and is unlike any other waterfall on Earth.

iguazu falls header

Today we visited the amazing Iguazu Falls! One of Argentina's treasured natural wonders, it was one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen and exceeded my every expectation.

WHATS SO SPECIAL ABOUT IGUAZU FALLS?


For those that don't know about it, Iguazu Falls is a cascade of 275 individual falls that lie on the border between Argentina and Brazil. There is one gargantuan drop called The Devil's Throat, and a series of smaller falls that can be seen in a 3km trek. The falls can be viewed from both the Argentinian and Brazilian side (however we opted to stay on the Argentinian side only).

iguazu falls mini falls from distance

HOW TO GET THERE


For those on a budget there is a bus between Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazu that takes 18 hours. Much more conveniently the airplane takes only 2 hours. Once at the airport you can opt to stay in Puerto Iguazu or inside the Sheraton which is already in the National Park of the Falls. You might hear that Puerto Iguazu is a boring quiet town and while I agree to an extent, we personally enjoyed staying in Puerto Iguazu for an extra day and found plenty of things to do.

iguazu falls larger fall

WHAT TO BRING


Hot and humid, a hat and sunscreen is essential. If you don't like carrying food and water there are plenty of junk food opportunities in the park. And no matter how hard you try to avoid the water, you will be getting wet, so wear something comfortable that you don't mind getting drenched in. I spotted a few people donning raincoats but considering the humidity I think it would be too hot and sticky - I preferred getting dried off au natural in the sunshine.

iguazu falls rainbow

THE DEVIL'S THROAT


With a bright and early arrival we decided to see the largest fall first. The Devil's Throat is too far to walk so we caught the train from inside the entrance of the park. If you look closely below you can see 2 orange boats in the river. We took one of these boats later in the day for a different more intimate view of the falls.

iguazu falls the devils throat cataract

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL


We arrived at the train station and walked about a kilometre to the Devil's Throat. From afar the u-shaped gargantuan cataract is amazing, but up close it is something else. With such unbelievable power it was a brilliant opportunity to get drenched - the mist from the drop rose at least 20 metres above our heads. Even though we arrived early there was already a horde of tourists to navigate around. Remember to be careful with electronics, you cannot avoid the water (even from a distance).

devils throat cataract mist up close

THE UPPER CIRCUIT


The Park has two walking circuits - the Upper Circuit which is a trail that consists of bridges that run above the falls, and the Lower Circuit which provides a completely different perspective of the same falls. After catching the train from the Devil's Throat back to the main station and a quick snack, we decided to do the upper circuit first. A leisurely stroll, it took about an hour to complete this circuit and gave us fantastic views from above - some of the drops are 60 metres down! There are six individual lookouts where you can take your time to relax and marvel at this natural wonder.

iguazu falls upper circuit

THE LOWER CIRCUIT


We did the Lower Circuit trail last for a different perspective of what we had just seen. There are eight lookouts here and took us about two hours to complete. It's harder to avoid the curtain of water on this circuit so we got soaked again (not that we minded in this tropical weather). The Lower Circuit is also where you get access to the orange speed boats that take you up close to the Devil's Throat through the river on a 15 minute ride. Up close to the cataract you could feel its immense visceral power again. It also took us directly under a waterfall on the other side so make sure your electronics are water proofed!

iguazu falls lower circuit

THE OTHER SUPERSTARS OF IGUAZU FALLS


On both walking trails we met some cute native animals. We saw many coatis, which look similar to raccoons. But be careful, these cuties are on the hunt for food and can get aggressive - they will bite! We also saw monkeys hanging out on the trees, but you have to keep a keen eye out to catch a glimpse.

iguazu falls cute coatis

Image attribution:
"Iguazu Falls" by mark goble // CC BY 2.0 *
* changes were made to the original materials

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