February 22nd, 2008 – by: andycox_is_now_in
Landed in Puerto Iguazu and the heat of the tropics immediately hits you. Landed on my feet meeting Clare as well and hit it off well, quickly agreed to share a cab to find a hostal. Amazing how often you bump into people half way round the world with such commonality - Clare having travelled after splitting up with her fiance and also a qualified ISEB software tester working on government contracts - its definitely becoming a smaller world !! We both picked a hostal in our guides and agreed to look at both before deciding on our preference - thankfully we were agreed that her choice was better being not only cheaper, but including swimming pool and bar.
With gorgeous weather and good company, happily decided against rushing off to see the Brazilian side of the falls on the 1st day and instead relax, catch a few rays of sun with a few beers. Blew the conservative budget and treated ourselves to a steak (well it was my last night in Argentina) before finding a couple of pretty pubs to watch the world go by. Puerto Iguazu suprisingly quiet given its proximity to such a big tourist destination. However by doing so, it has kept its character and a nice chilled out town with the friendliest waiters who revelled in being of service at every opportunity, without being obtrusive.
Up a little later than planned but still plenty of time to do the recommended 8 hours to give the Argentinian side of the falls justice.
As expected, the bus ride to the park entrance much easier than the tourist companies suggested when trying to sell you a taxi for 4 times the cost. With the park containing 3 main trails, we took the advice of the park ranger and avoided taking the busy train to the furthest point and most impressive Devis Throat falls - instead walking to the High trail walking along the ridge above the cascading waterfalls. Heard the thunder of the falls much before seeing them. However the roar does not prepare you for the sight of over 200 waterfalls (272 in the park in total) sending thousands of litres of water a second over a 60 metre precipice within a tropical jungle frame. Many spectacular views in the previous 15 weeks but none more impressive and unique.
Iguassu Falls maybe not as famous as the likes of Niagara but the statistics for Iguassu beats Niagara on all counts. Walked along the ridge of the falls watching the water disappear over the falls directly underneath the walkway. Not for the 1st time on the trip, feeling like a giddy school boy wondering how 1 continent could hold so much diversity. After completing the upper circuit, returned to the train to the Devils Throat falls. Although rammed with tourists, the train passed through a pretty little jungle full of giant bamboo. Off the train, forced to walk in procession down wooden walkways towards the main falls. However some places are touristy for a very good reason. Having walked for 500 metres over marshy lakes, arrived at the Devils Throat where all the lakes converge and is compressed into a comparatively tiny gap over a U shaped waterfall.
Camera simply not able to do the view justice as not able to get half of the falls in shot. Stood in awe trying to get a decent shot (need good use of elbows to leverage space amongst the throng). Returned to the train seeing a sleeping cayman relaxing underneath the walkway, to walk the final of the 3 main paths, this time the lower circuit. More cool wildlife when passing a family of Cocinos (cute looking raccoon like marsupials) play fighting through the trees. Couple of tourists doing exactly as asked not to by trying to feed them. Quickly regretted it as about 10 sensed feeding time and charged for the food - served him right !! The view looking up at the falls cascading down even more impressive and can appreciate the scale of the 300 waterfalls together.
One walkway allowed you to get within 10 foot of the 60 foot falls with the power of the water causing air pressure hard to walk against and sucking the air out of your lungs, whilst getting drenched. Onto the highlight of the day as Clare and I had pre-booked a trip on the infamous powerboat that takes you underneath the falls. Only 10 minute trip but great experience as sped through the choppy water before steadily steering the whole boat under the several of the falls. Shower and a half with 1000s of litres of water falling 60 foot on your head. Not able to see a thing but great fun. A fitting end of 7 hours in the park. The falls genuinely a wonder of the world.
Back in Puerto Iguassu, Clare and I having a beer when Donna and Chad appeared walking down the street.
Joined us for a drink and arranged to meet up later. Having decided to stay in Argentina for an extra night, went out for a planned cheap meal but ended up splashing out again as a last meal together before Clare and I needed to head in different directions. Service fantastic again and a lovely bottle of Mendoza
wine made it a special occassion. Great night to end another fantastic day.
Very tired on following morning, but needed to get up as time to say bye to Argentina and hello to Brazil and my final destination of Rio de Janeiro. Clare and I walked to the bus station together. My Spanish got us by to book a bus for Clare to Cordoba, whilst I got a ticket to Foz de Iguassu on the Brazilian side of the border. Only known Clare for 48 hours but what a great 48 hours. However, time to move on.