On Monday morning we arrived into a very hot and humid Puerto Iguazu. Flying made all the difference and for the first time we felt refreshed arriving into a new place. The small town has a relaxed tropical-island feel but at the same time parts of it are fairly run down. Despite hoards of tourists constantly flocking to the area for the falls it was very quiet and not crowded at all.
Following an afternoon nap we headed out for a stroll and stumbled across a cluster of stalls selling goodies such as olives, cured meats, cheeses, and preserved fruits, along with wine and beer. The stalls together created an improvised bar area with rows of tables and chairs spilling onto the road where people relaxed in the cooler evening temperatures. We followed the crowd and savoured a delicious mixed platter and deep fried empanadas all washed down with a cold beer. Perfect.
The following morning we rose early to take the first bus to the Parque Nacional Iguazu. The Rio Iguazu forms three parts to the falls; upper falls, lower falls and the Devil’s Throat. The falls can be viewed from both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides. We were not able to visit the Brazil side as our Emergency Documents that we are travelling with only have enough pages to get us through the remaining borders of our trip before home. A bit disappointing but apparently there is more to see on the Argentina side.
As we were first through the gate we were able to enjoy parts of the Park to ourselves. We walked the various routes which provided ever changing and spectacular views of the falls. The sound and constant spray produced in some parts was just terrific. The platforms provided opportunities to get right amongst the warm waters and experience the falls for real.
The Park covers an area of 55,000 hectares and is covered in lush tropical forest; it supports over 200 plant species and over 400 bird species. We were lucky to see many birds, monkeys, gigantic spiders and gorgeous colourful butterflies.
We also took a ride in a large boat to get in close with the falls at water level. As we boarded the vessel we noticed many people in full swim suit attire and had thought that it was rather over the top. This was until we were steered directly into the spray of the falls and sat there for a good few seconds drenching us all right through to our underwear and socks. We then did this several times over which would have been more fun had we been a bit more prepared, instead it was a bit odd as we all cowered and closed our eyes as the heavy water fell on our heads.
Nevertheless we were able to partially dry off as we squelched our way around the remainder of the park, leaving the biggest attraction of the Devil’s Throat until last. Here the platform provides views of the beginning of the falls and sits above where the water crashes over the edge. It was difficult to obtain that perfect picture as large clouds of spray drifted up and over the platform providing another drenching. However it was well worth the great view once we could fight our way through the hoards of people to the barrier.
All in all it was a great experience. As we had begun our day early and part of the Park was closed we were finished by just after midday. We headed back into town for lunch at a great local restaurant.
Wednesday afternoon we jump on a bus and head 20 hours south to Buenos Aires where we will then catch a boat (followed by another bus) to Montevideo, Uruguay.