Cataratas Iguazu

Puerto Iguazu Travel Blog

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Andrew at Iguazu Cataratus from Argentinian side

This time the trip to the Misiones Province got underway to plan.  We went to the ticketing office and as I expected, one of the guys left the office and escorted us to the platform.  The terminus has 75 platforms and the buses coming and going every minute.  Bus is not the right description, they are first class coaches.  They have a range which seems to be determined by how far the seats recline and the leg room.  Once we left the city limits of Buenos Aires we were served dinner which consisted of a salad with a piece of hot chicken, bread and a desert.  Soft drink and mineral water were also on offer.

Monkey in front yard in the town
  Videos were played, the seats were plush and cushioned and the 17 hour trip was very comfortable.

Once we travelled through the night and the sun came up, the countryside showed a marked change from the flat pampas with cattle that I had glimpsed in the moonlight.  It was more hilly and timber plantations and milling operations were frequent.  The houses had changed and the towns had roads paved with local stone in a type of cobblestone effect that looked very durable though a bit bumpy.  The coach would pull into many of these towns and passengers disembarked.  Boxes were often delivered from the coach's luggage area and the fuel was topped up.

The countryside was dotted with plantations of Mate, corn, bananas, melons, pawpaw and something else that often was in home plots grown with corn that I do not recognise.

A coati
  Puerto Iguazu was reached about an hour after the estimated time and this amazed me as through the night stops seemed frequent.  Once a related coach company had a broken down coach headed to BA and ours had to stop and mull over the problem while a mechanic crawled in the rear engine area with a flashlight.

Puerto Iguazu was so very hot, perhaps around 40 degrees C, very quiet and sleepy after BA.  We got directions to the Hostel we had booked on line and walked.  Halfway there a guy came up behind us asking if we wanted a hostel and we told him we already had booked at El Guembe but he persisted and showed us a pamphlet with El Guembe.  It appeared that he had been sent to collect us!  The hostel was delightful.  There were perhaps only about 8 rooms with an open air dining room and reception at the front, an open air kitchen further back and the rooms were not only airconditioned but they had an ensuite with bidet, TV in the room and a double and single bed! 

Back to reception and we got advice to visit the Brazilian side of the falls as it was now 2.

Iguazu Cataratas fron Brazilian side
30pm and Brazil was one hour ahead.  We had to walk back to the terminus and catch a bus displaying Brazil on it. The bus ran every 20 mins and drove to the Argentinian checkpoint where everybody had to get off the bus and show passports etc.  Ours were stamped and we continued back on the bus, whizzing past the Brazilian checkpoint where the soldiers patrolled with large guns!  We had been told to get off at a roundabout which just happened to be in the middle of nowhere.  Two Austrian women were also headed to the falls and were very dubious of the instructions we had been given, but got off with us there too.  We then had to walk some 800 meters to find another bus stop where we waited in the blazing sun.  One Austrian girl spotted taxis outside a hotel and wandered over to find out if they would take us but they seemed disinterested and we had been told that they would charge about 50 pesos and the bus would only be 3 pesos.
Iguazu again stunning
  Much to our collective relief a bus came and we boarded it, paid a woman seated in front of a turnstile.  Once we paid, she allowed us through the turnstile to the seats. 

Some 20 year olds told Andrew to have their seat and when he hesitated they indicated that their parents had insisted that they did.  We thanked them and he sat.  At the entrance to the park we found that they took US dollars, Argentinian pesos, Brazilian and Uruguay currency.  We boarded a waiting coach and were taken off to the several destinations.  We were not adventure rafting so we stayed on until the walk to the cataratas was indicated.  The gradient was easy and soon our first glimpse of the mighty falls came through the trees.

simply awesome
  It was spectacular.  It became more amazing as we walked.  We were viewing the Argentinian side until we came down to the final huge falls which had a viewing platform that allowed one to walk out to almost stand amidst the mighty roar and spray of the Gargantuan Diablo (Devil's Throat). 

Next day we spent in the National Park and the Falls on the Argentinian side.  Again a local bus for 3 pesos is the way to go and it is quite a long trip, maybe 18 kms.  On advice from the hostel we should do all the walks before catching a small, open air train to see the last sight.  We headed off through the jungle keeping to the pathways as the signs indicated there were things unpleasant that might spoil your day if you left the path.

any way you view them
  We began to see the real size of the falls as more and more falls became visible that are hidden from view, in Brasil.

Swift-like birds darted in and out of the falls, and stopped at the edges clinging to greenery and finding food.  At one point a Coati wandered under the catwalks and people took photos.  Later a whole group of them wandered across the pathway, two with babies following close behind.  A ranger's house was nearby and he came out to warn people not to feed or touch them as they do bite.  We noticed that he wore a handgun on his belt and wondered if my Ranger daughter would like to do an exchange one day with an Argentinian counterpart!  The Coati is a cat sized animal with a pointed nose and a long bushy ringed tail.

powerful
  Butterflies of brilliant colours, orange, electric blue and reds flew by in the dappled light of the jungle bush.  Took the little train to begin the last and most spectacular walk. 

A short distance from the train stop we found ourselves at the top of the falls and a fair way back, where the rivers have converged and spread into a huge expanse.  A long low footbridge took us on a nearly 2 km walk.  It eventually ends at the mightiest of the falls the DevilĀ“s Throat ( Gargantuan Diablo) where the final platform stands way too close to the edge!!!!!   Huge clouds of spray rise from the thunderous waters that tumble over the precipice and soak those who dare to go and look.  As it was so hot I took courage and did just that delighting in the cooling soaking I got.

panoramic
 

This was the 31st of December and back at the hostel we began to realise that most places for eating were closed but eventually found a place.  What looked like a double garage fronting the main street in the rows of houses had it's roller doors thrown up and good music was coming out.  They did a surprising Thai Stir Fry and a good bottle of Argentinian wine of course! Met a couple of North Americans from California and were delighted to find them again later, staying at our hostel.  That night, along with 3 more North Americans and two Germans we saw in the New Year, twice!  Once at 11pm when fireworks coming from Brazil went off, then again at midnight when Puerto Iguazu let theirs off.

January 1st 2006 we packed up and headed off to the terminal.

luxury coaches for the 17 hour trip
  Amongst the residential houses a couple of women were chatting and Andrew said his cheery "Good day".  They hesitated then one rattled off a string of Spanish and then threw in "Englaise".  I said "Si, from Australia"  She seemed quite pleased about this and chattered on some more then grasped my elbows and kissed me soundly on both cheeks and offered me "Felize" somethings which I repeated back to her.  She seemed to like that and then Andrew got the same treatment.  Took a photo of a monkey chained up in someone's front garden then it's owner told us to wait up ( I think) and disappeared into her house.  Eventually she came back with an orange which she had sliced and presented it to the monkey so that we could photograph it in a great spot!

Found only one place open for a cooling juice, then a water, then a large beer.

North Eastern Argentina
  It was only 11am and a Sunday and New Year's Day.  They appeared to be setting up the Parilla in a large brick open oven in the dining area inside the restaurant.  We were sitting under a huge corrugated iron roofed area that looks like it houses the local dances and music shows.  Evenutally the waiter asked where we were from and I told him.  About 15 mins later he asked us if we would like a close up look at the grill.  They had a haunch of beef, chicken, blood sausage, kidneys and a long sausage that was coiled up all slowly grilling.

We reluctantly left to catch our return coach and settled in to an even more luxurious trip back to BA (the seats reclined even further than those on the first trip).  Would thoroughly reccomend this travel in South America.  Food was excellent.

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Andrew at Iguazu Cataratus from Ar…
Andrew at Iguazu Cataratus from A…
Monkey in front yard in the town
Monkey in front yard in the town
A coati
A coati
Iguazu Cataratas fron Brazilian si…
Iguazu Cataratas fron Brazilian s…
Iguazu again  stunning
Iguazu again stunning
simply awesome
simply awesome
any way you view them
any way you view them
powerful
powerful
panoramic
panoramic
luxury coaches for the 17 hour trip
luxury coaches for the 17 hour trip
North Eastern Argentina
North Eastern Argentina
Puerto Iguazu
photo by: jeffy