Puerto Iguazu Travel Blog› entry 18 of 38 › view all entries
September 20th, 2007 – by: atropos10
I arrived in the deserted and decidedly closed bus station of Puerto Iguazu at 5 30 in the morning. I had spent the night conversing with an Argentinian soldier learning English and switching buses at 2am. I was not well rested and my options seemed limited. I took a taxi to the Hostel Inn Iguazu where I had a reservation for that evening. The staff wasn´t particularly sympathetic to my plight and allowed me to leave my backpack but told me I was not allowed to check in until 2pm. I considered relaxing on a deck chair by the pool until 2pm (yes there is a pool...this hostel is more like an all inclusive resort with dorms than any hostel I´ve ever been to) but I had been doing so much waiting in the last few days that I wanted to do something. I decided to go to the waterfalls. The hostel has a bus that transfers people to and from the falls but I was informed that all the transfers were full for the day but that if I stood out on the street I could wave down the next bus. So I stood on the street and I waved and waved but the bus did not stop. I knew that the next bus would not be by for another half an hour so I decided that it was time to take some action and start doing some moving of my own. I began to walk. I walked the whole 15km from the hostel to the Argentinian falls on the road. The road itself is very narrow but it has a wide grassy shoulder before the jungle proper begins. To be honest I was a bit unimpressed by the jungle on the side of the road, the flora seemed very similar in type and quantity to that found in abandoned lots in Vancouver. For the first half of my trek I tried to wave down buses and other vehicles but no one stop they just honked their horns at me as I walked. I was at a loss as to what these horns meant. I came to several possible conclusions ranging from a general greeting to what are you doing it is 15 kms to the park, to I would help you if you knew the right signal to ask for it, to stop you stupid tourist girl you are being stalked by a large jungle cat. I dont think I will ever know but I know that I made an impression on the bus drivers, several of whom waved at me and gave me the thumbs up when I finally arrived two hours later at the park. The general admittance to the park was quite expensive , 40 pesos or 14 dollars. I paid it and was admitted into the nightmare of overweight, middle aged, tour group members waddling laboriously along the flat paved path talking on their cell phones and smoking cigarettes. I was put off by the crowdedness and comercialism of the whole thing. I wanted away from the loud obnoxious people so I purposefully headed for the path with lots of stairs which acted as a impermeable barrier for the majority of them. Still, even on the least crowed path I only had a few seconds alone. If the park is this crowded on a Wednesday in low season I can´t imagine it when it is busy. The falls were beautiful but I found that most people came to take pictures of themselves infront of the falls rather than actually look at them and my new camera isnt very fun to take pictures with. I decided to treat myself to The Gran Adventure tour (a tour including a boat up to the falls, along the rapids and then a truck through the jungle) and wished I hadnt. It was entertaining but certainly not worth the money I paid for it. Do not expect to save money in Puerto Iguazu. They know that you are a tourist and they are going to take you for all that you are worth.
Still, the moment that I approached the horseshoe of the biggest waterfall, Devils Throat, saw the mist rising, heard the roar, and looked down into that roiling water all my resentment of the blatant money grab faded away and I was left with awe for the power of nature. The falls really are a marvel and worth the trip.
Iguazu is a one horse town. Once you have seen the falls there is not else much to do, especially if you are Canadian or American and have to pay to go to Brazil or Paraguay. There are lots of package adventure tours available but they will destroy your budget pretty quickly. If you come to Iguazu come for a day or two don´t stay a week (unless you want to hang out by the pool and party...then stay as long as you want)
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