Iguazu Falls

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We arrived at Puerto IguazĂș from Buenos Aries after a 18 hour bus ride. It sounds horrendous I know, but we're getting use to them, maybe even starting to like these long bus journeys! We had meals and films again which was a great way to break up the journey.

Puerto IguazĂș is the nearest town to Iguazu falls (on the Argentina side) and as we arrived early enough, we headed to the park to get a near full day. The park itself was fairly pricey but its a once in a lifetime thing so didn't think twice.

The Iguazu Falls can be experienced from Argentina and Brazil. The falls are all in Argentina but can also be viewed from Brazil as the river separates the countries. We had heard mixed reviews about the Brazilian side with the majority of people preferring the Argentinian side.

From the map we could see that the site was made up of a series of boardwalks that would take you to the falls. There are 250-300 falls depending on the water flow.

We decided to goto the furthest section so after a short walk, a monorail style train ride and a half mile walk we arrived at 'Devils Throat'. Its the section where the waterfalls drop the highest - 82 metres (Niagra falls highest drop is 51 metres). As we approached the area you could see a huge water cloud and at times the water would bounce back up higher than the falls itself!

The boardwalks were really good and gave you a sense of the how powerful it was and a bit of a soaking when the wind blew in our direction! In some sections the boardwalk took you directly over the drop and although you couldn't see the bottom, it was still scary!

The next trail we went on was the upper circuit which was a trail which took us over the edge of a lot more of the falls. We had some great views and stopped for lunch in a pretty good spot.

As you may imagine, the lower circuit took us past falls when they were hitting the bottom. We got a bit wetter on this trail especially in one section where you could get within a few metres! See photos as it difficult to explain!

We had spent about 6 hours at the falls and walked quite a long way so we were pretty knackered! That evening we had a couple of beers and as we were still in Argentina couldn't resist the urge for more steak and red wine! The restaurant had a live band and a lot of exited locals who by the end of the night were dancing and singing which all made for a great atmosphere.

We had another full day spare so decided to goto the Brazilian side of the waterfalls despite mostly hearing negative reviews.

We got a bus that would go across the border and bring us back. We got off to get an exit stamp for Argentina at the border but just drove straight through the Brazilian border! We were now illegal immigrants!

We got completely ripped off when paying entry. As we didn't stop to get any Brazilian currency we had to pay in Argentinian. It cost the same as the day before but should've been about a third cheaper. We got straight on a bus and got off at the start of the boardwalk trail.

We got amazing views of the whole waterfalls which is something you couldn't get on the Argentian side as your in amoungst the falls. We eventually arrived at a section where they'd invested quite a bit of money with boardwalks and lifts to take you to different levels of viewpoints. We started of at the highest and worked our way down. It was a really good section and it let you get really close. The best was yet to come though. There was a boardwalk section that was at the bottom of one waterfall and the top of another so a fantastic spot. We waited for a bit and watched people come back from the boardwalk absolutely drenched but grinning from ear to ear. People had left their used ponchos at the side so we took two, covered up and went for it.

We were getting soaked as we walked across the boardwalk on our way to the main viewpoint! None of that mattered though as we stood at the viewpoint. Its difficult to explain how much of an amazing experience it was standing there getting drenched! We stood there for 10 minutes taking it all in. We were half way down into the canyon, feeling the full force of a large waterfall behind us, seeing a permanent rainbow to the left and seeing the rest of the falls and mist to the right. It was one of the best experiences we'd had whilst travelling which after all we'd heard was completely unexpected! We hope the few photos we took did it justice. The camera was soaked but it still works in its broken way!

We headed back to dryness and had an hour to kill in the sunshine before getting picked up. Whilst we were finished in 2.5 hours, its a 'must do' simply for the views and boardwalk experiences. They have a lot more extra activities on the Brazilian side but they come at an extra cost. We were thinking of doing a boat ride into the waterfalls but we watched from above and due to the power of the falls whilst we were there the boats didn't get that close. We also heard a few people comparing the falls to Niagra which they said Iguazu wins hands down.

We made it back to Argentina with no dramas and again had a few beers and meal in a nice bar where we got free cocktails. Not sure what they were but they were that good that we had another!

At lunchtime the next day we left for our last destination...Rio De Janeiro, Brazil!

Photos

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