Softly we floated down from Tilcara and watched the beautiful Andes retreat in the rear view mirror as we began our two day marathon drive across Argentina to see the fabled Iguazú Falls. Nine or so hours on the road through emerald green landscape, we ended our first marathon day in Corrientes. Not a great place and sadly for us, a Carnival meant that hotels were scarce and we passed an uneasy night in a sketchy pace. Next day was a repeat but eventually we began to skirt the border of Paraguay and we knew we were getting closer to our destination, Puerto Iguazú, the Argentine corner of this famous location.
A tourist destination for sure, Puerto de Iguazu is in a sub-tropical rainforest and our hotel, a series of family style cabins in a garden with a pool and a huge courtyard cage for the pet ducks and chickens, was a welcome sight. The pool was a great cooling off area in the heat and intense humidity.
The National Parque de Iguazú Falls on the Argentine side is a huge expanse of tropical jungle where many feline species and birds make their home. There were of course hoards of people but it was fun and after paying for parking and an entrance fee to the park itself, we purchased tickets for a “jungle safari” that ended in a zodiac ride to the falls and in fact into the falls. We were warned that we were going to get very wet and so we did, but we were issued large green dry bags for our precious things and off we went. There was a group of young men from Israel and after the warning of showers to come they stripped down to their underwear, causing some titters from some English girls and a reprimand from their Australian companion to “put their eyes back in their heads.” Not to district from our main purpose of boarding the Zodiac, we headed up the Iguazú river to a stunning sight of 275 or more smaller waterfalls pounding over the 200 ft cliffs. The captain of our Zodiac delighted in backing in and out of several of these until we were very wet. At one point he gave us a “dry” break and out came the cameras for some up close shots, then having safely restored cameras we ventured close to the Devil’s Throat, the massive part of the falls, the part that a poet said was the “mirror of God”. Pretty much the kind of awesome experience you would expect and I was both happy and wet. After the boat tour and Jungle Safari we spent the remaining hours hiking through the park out to the edges of the falls. The paths to the falls are metal “boardwalks” that wend and wind their way across the river as it gathers volume and strength before racing to the falls and crashing to the river below. What a sight.
On day two, my Mexican friends signed up for a tour for the Brasil and Paraguay sides of the rivers and falls, which I was reluctant to try as I did not have a visa to visit Brasil. So I spent the day wandering in Puerto Iguazu and found myself at a park dedicated to the “three countries, three rivers, and three languages” of Iguazu, a confluence that is rare in the world. A unique and beautiful place, this place is almost haunting, one can picture the hot and steamy hardships of the early Argentinians as they fought to survive the heat, the humidity, the insects, the dangers and perils and the diseases. Kind of Mosquito Coasty.