Published: October 9th 2010October 5th 2010
After a morning on Ipanema beach (where Scott finally got to go in the sea - and was knocked over several times by huge waves) we left Rio on Monday afternoon and had a short flight to Foz Do Iguazu on the Brazillian side of the Iguazu falls. After collecting our luggage, we jumpedin a taxi across the border to the Argentine side, Puerto Iguazu, where we would stay for the night before starting our day at the Iguazu falls on Tuesday. We explored the small town and found a fancy Italian restaurant which looked fairly reasonably priced at £4 per pasta dish - However, in Argetina, restaurants charge seperately for the sauce so it ended up being one of our most expensive meals to date (At the grand total of £15 - but worth every penny!)
The Iguazu falls are waterfalls of a huge river in Iguazu national park, they border Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and they are higher than the Niagra falls. There are over 275 waterfalls throughout the park, and the largest is called Garganta del Diablo or Devils Throat, as it is absolutely massive, at over 82 metres high and over 150 metres wide, and this
marks the border between Brazil and Argentina.
Before we arrived at the park we didn't know how big it was or how much there was to se and do, luckily the hostel we stayed at - CheLagata, had loads of information for us so we bought a pass for the park which would allow us to do everything the park had to offer in the one day (Jungle tour, speed boat under the falls, train ride, 8km dinghy river cruise and all the various trails.) We were really lucky with the weather as it was a hot sunny day, and for the previous 2 weeks it had rained everyday.
We started off doing one of the many walking trails through the park/jungle which was about 1.5km, we didn't see anything along here except for a couple of huge spider webs, which absolutely petrified Vic's - However, there is a lot of wildlife in the park which we would come to see later. After this trail we walked another trail - upper circuit, which is connected by wlakways/bridges through the jungle and allowed you to see a few of the waterfalls from above which was great, we didn't realise how
many there were or how amazing they looked until we saw them! They really were amazing and some of the photos we got don't truly capture the beauty of this amazing national park.
We then arrived for our jungle safari which takes you on a big jeep through the jungle part of the park with a guide, before arriving at a small dock for the part of the day we were most excited about- this is where we would get in a spee boat and be taken actually under one of the falls!
During the ride through the jungle we spotted several rare species of Butterfly and Scott managed to spot the first racoon type creature jumping through the tree tops. Just before we got to the boat we walked through some jungle area and looked up into the trees to see a monkey and it's family jumping from branch to branch, it was too quick to get a picture of but it was amazing to see this kind of creature in the wild. When we got on the boat, we wasn't quite sure what to expect (especially when we were given lif jackets) and at the start of our
5km ride we couldn't see the waterfalls at first but as we rounded a bend in the river (quite strange, as you have Brazil on one side of the banks and Argentina on the other) we could see the enourmous Devils Throat falls, which we got scarily close to and got wet from the spray of them before backing up, we thought that was it but then we picked up speed and went towards a smaller waterfall, which was still big, and went straight through it! Needless to say we got completely soaked and it was quite an adrenalin rush to be at the bottom of this huge fall with so much water pounding down on us but luckily we bought spare clothes with us unlike some people who would have stayed wet all day!
We then dried off and walked through another trail, this one lower down than the last one so you got closer to the waterfalls, which were all different in their height and shape, there was also a rainbow on one of them which made it look really magical. Throughout the park there are millions of butterflies flying around, all different colours and sizes, and
apparantly its because of the dampness from the falls and the minerals in the ground that they live in the park. Along the way we saw some furry animals called Coati's, these look like a cross between a monkey, a racoon and an anteater! They were so brave running up to tourits and just walking around the park, and we were so excited to be seeing animals like this in the wild as we didn't expect to.
After a bit of lunch we got on a small tram towards a trail which would lead to the Devils Throat, the biggest waterfall. We walked the trail for about half an hour, seeing loads more butterflies and a baby caiman croc, before hearing a deafening noise in the distance which we took to be the falls. When we got there, there was a big viewing platform and we were stunned by how enourmous they were- the photos don't do it justice- there must have been millions of tonnes of water gushing down this waterfall, and if you fell in you definately would have drowned! We were getting wet just from the spray and we couldn't even see the bottom because of the
vast amounts of white water, they were massive and just breathtaking and we both feel really lucky that we were able to see them during our trip.
After walking back we then got on our rubber dinghy type boat for a trip down the river which started off nice and relaxing until we were guided into a swamp type area of the river. This is where Vic turned round in the boat and about 8 feet away was a massive crocodile on the banks of the river - she virtually jumped out of her skin and proceeded to sit on the floor of the dinghy for the next 10 minutes!!
As we continued we passed another one with a baby croc next to her, it was again amazing to see these animals in the wild although we were worryingly close to them, in little more than a large inflatable baloon! When the trip ended we got the tram back to the start of the park, where we saw a salamanda type creature and more butterflies, and we sat in the sun waiting for our bus back to the hostel.
This park is absolutely incredible and probably one of the
best things we have seen and done so far on our trip. We loved the natural beauty of it and all the wildlife that we saw, if we had an extra day we probably would have done it again!
After getting back to our hostel we then went to the bus station where we were booked on a 17 hour overnight bus to Buenos Aires, our longest yet!
There are more photos below