Iguazu/Iguaçu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
07.02.2010 - 07.02.2010 39 °C
Arriving in the morning in Foz do Iguaçu, the Brazilian town near the falls, we decided to head directly to the Argentinean side. The Iguaçu/Iguazú river is on the border between Brazil and Argentina, with the falls located about 20km from the border towns on either side (Foz de Iguaçu in Brazil, Puerto Iguazú in Argentina). You can visit the falls from both sides, but from Argentina you get much closer to the action, while the Brazilian side is good for a distance overview. Paraguay also borders the area and meets the river a bit further down, but it doesn't have access to the falls. We decided to take a more expensive organized transport across the border because by public buses, you have to change several times and it takes much longer to get there, and we wanted to be back in Brazil in the evening.
After picking up a couple of other people in different hostels, the van headed to the border, where we left Brazil and entered Argentina. Unfortunately one of the group, a girl from Indonesia, wasn't allowed across the border because apparently she would have needed a visa for Argentina. All the other passengers (1 Dutch, 2 English, 3 Brazilians, 1 Italian [Ivan], and 3 Swiss including me) had no problems, no visa required, no questions asked. Sometimes the world is unfair...
Funny furry animals near the falls / Butterflies drinking water in a small puddle
After border crossing and driving to the falls, we were conveniently dropped off at the entrance to the National Park surrounding the falls. On the Argentinean side, the falls can be visited at a number of places with different views. After a short walk on a jungle trail (with plenty of big spiders hanging around in their nets above our heads), we took a little train and then a trail over bridges connecting some small islands in the river, leading to a platform on top of the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), the biggest single fall within the Iguaçu falls. From there, we got a spectacular view down into the massive, horse-shoe shaped fall where incredible amounts of water rush down 80 meters into the depth literally just under our feet, creating a tremendous noise and so much water spraying into the air that you can't actually see the lower part of the river.
Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat)
The second part of our visit was the "Upper Trail", leading again from the centre along the top edge of the falls. This was our favourite part, it gives a view of the dimension of the falls. There's not just a couple of them, but waterfalls as far as you can see! Depending on the amount of water in the river, up to 275 waterfalls rush down the 80 meter drop in the landscape over a distance of 2.7 kilometers, creating an immensely beautiful natural spectacle.
Iguazu Falls (from upper trail)
The third approach is the "Lower Trail", leading as you would have guessed, to views from below the falls. Three of us (Ivan, me and the Dutch guy) skipped a part of the trail to join a truck and boat tour on the river with even more spectacular views from below. While the "jungle truck tour" was boring, the boat tour was absolutely worth it. The speed boat took us up the river from a bit further below. We knew that we'd get wet on the boat trip, and we didn't mind at all as it was again very hot (probably near 40 °C again), but it passed our expectations. After a stop a bit further away to take pictures of the falls from below, we were told to put the cameras (and anything else we didn't want to get wet) in the waterproof bags that had been handed out before. After some first "getting sprayed" from a bit further away, the boat captain then went pretty much into the middle of a couple of falls where we got completely showered and soaked to the skin... good thing we had those waterproof bags
Waterfalls from the boat below, just before entering into the white masses rushing down from above
After the boat trip we had to hurry up to get back to the van - we were still wet when we crossed the border back form Argentina to Brazil. The hostel was fun but the small room with 6 people and almost no air circulation was so hot that we both soon left the room to sleep in the common room, which was slightly less hot... But apart from the heat, we enjoyed it, playing table-tennis and jumping into the outdoor pool within the hostel.
Unfortunately I don't have many good pictures from the falls. As my old camera is broken and makes a black spot in the middle of every picture, I was also using my mobile phone to take pictures, but had the phone including the pictures stolen a few days later during the Carnival in Rio, so those pictures are gone. So all the pictures here will have the black spot... but they should still give an idea of the beauty of the falls.