We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This

Tripoto

Sitting in the Buenos Aires airport, we were lazily waiting for an announcement to board, when someone said we had to find a shuttle out to the plane. What? Scrambling to figure out what and where, we finally found the right shuttle boarding at the very last moment to Puerto Iguazu, far up into the NE tip of Argentina.

We had purchased a flight package from Buquebus Turisimo that included 4 nights hotel with air from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. Buquebus is an Argentine-Uruguayan company that operates ferry services from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay, and also offers tours and packages. http://www.buquebusturismo.com/buque-site/siteTurismoHome.do?method=siteTurismo

Puerto Iguazu, a city of 80,000, sits at the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and it is not far from here where the calm Iguazu River diffuses into a wild frenzy 18 kilometres away at Iguazu Falls.

If you do only one thing in Argentina, you must go to Iguazu Falls. You will quickly realize that it was well worth the price to see the world's most awesome waterfalls.

As we were walking towards the waterfalls, we couldn't help but notice a sharply broken wooden catwalk with a sign that said, "Catwalk destroyed by flood 1992".

Photo of Iguazu Falls, Misiones Province, Argentina by S D Hollick

We imaged what it might have been like had we been on that catwalk instead of the sturdy one we were on now.

We've all seen beautiful waterfalls - who doesn't like them - but these waterfalls were an absolutely stunning spectacle!

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

In every direction you are surrounded by incredible waterfalls. Literally, the Iguazu Falls form a huge circle, so that everywhere you look, there is an incredible waterfall: in front of you a blasting waterfall, to the left a 3 layer waterfall, to the right a wide waterfall 1/2 a mile wide, and behind you a waterfall with a colourful rainbow bouncing through it.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

The booming noise of the waterfalls exposes the immense power and formidable force of the rushing waterfalls, and the noise, heard several kilometers away, was how Iguazu Falls were discovered in the 16 century. Here is a short video.

http://youtu.be/Ai4uvpLXaCw

We marveled at the water droplets dancing on the nearby rock outcrops.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

Maybe those water droplets were boiling. The temperature was 100.4 F (38 C). Yes 38 degrees! The heavy mist of water rolling off the falls was a welcome and cooling respite from the very hot temperature, even though it evaporated quickly. We arrived early in the morning and stayed all day, and even that wasn't long enough to see everything.

There are miles and miles of hiking trails through the rain forest that surrounds the waterfalls and each time you come around a corner, you are dazzled with yet another striking waterfall or group of waterfalls raging down the rock walls.

We walked and walked in the heat, amazed and impressed at every turn, up steep steps and down curving paths, but in the 38 degree C temperature, we soon began to get weak. We had run out of water some time ago. Water, we needed water, but none was near. Huh! Water all around us and not a drop to drink.

We finally spotted a little sitting area up an embankment, and stumbled up to rest. Panting, we sat admiring the incredible views. Suddenly D whispered urgently,

"Don't move!"

Frightened, I imagined the worst. Some horrific insect or spider, a wild animal.. what??? I froze.

She was fumbling with her camera. Slowly and carefully, I turned my head in the direction the camera was pointed. I froze again. There, a foot from my leg was a gigantic lizard! Sitting at least a foot high, and three feet long, he seemed quite at ease, his big eyes looking at me with great curiosity.

Of course the lizard was curious. He must have wondered what these strange animals were doing in his rain forest home. After a bit, he looked simply bored, and wandered off into the rain forest.

Shortly after that we found a man selling water... sweet luxurious water.

Big beautiful butterflies the size of an open hand flitted around everywhere: azure blue, emerald green, brilliant yellow and neon pink, striped, polka-dot and cartoon-ish.

Most of them were too fast for us to get a photo, but in this little wooded area, this much smaller butterfly seemed quite happy to sit on your knee or on your shoe, or share your sandwich!

Further around the falls, we took a boat tour to the mighty and perilous Devil's Throat, directly under the magnificent Iguazu Falls.

It was a wild and exhilarating experience where we screamed blue murder as we went over boiling whitewater, got soaked under the falls, and took sharp turns where the boat turned on it's side just as we were about to go under the falls.

Notice how tiny the people are standing on the cliff, and the boat, compared to the huge waterfall.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

You'd think that soaking would have cooled us off, but seconds later we were dry and hot again. So we took a little boat to San Martin Island where it was pure delight to jump into the water, clothes and all! So cool and refreshing.

We stayed at the very nice Esturion Hotel, with a beautiful view of the rain forest and the Iguazu River from the room balcony.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

Exotic plants were everywhere.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

Buy the extra package for the excellent catamaran boat ride down the Iguazu and Parana rivers to see the original Aboriginal site of the Guarana Indians in Paraguay. If you are lucky, they will be dancing and singing around a blazing fire at sunset. Beautiful.

Buy the extra package for the zip line, waterfall repelling and jungle canopy tour where you will truck through the jungle to climb a 4 story tree, fly across the jungle canopy from tree to tree, harnessed-up bounce off the back rock of a tall waterfall. Great fun.

Don't buy a guided tour to walk around the paths surrounding Iguazu - it's easily done on your own, and more fun at your own pace without a crowd or people.

Be careful when purchasing tickets online or by phone. They still require that you pick up the vouchers (tickets) in person. Ask if that is still required.

I repeat: If you go to Argentina, Iguazu Falls is a Must-See.

Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick
Photo of We've Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This by S D Hollick

Trip first published on TRAVEL TO LITTLE KNOWN PLACES

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