Published: August 11th 2010July 19th 2010
Lucia had told us the previous night that the weather we were currently experiencing was very unusual - when she had arrived a few days ago it was 24 degrees Celsius, and now it was 4 degrees. Today it got worse - it rained. We used the hostel’s minibus to get across to the Argentinean side of the Iguazu Falls National Park (we had hoped to see the Brazilian side too but our delayed flight scuppered those plans) but did not arrive until about 11 o’clock, leaving us only 5 hours to explore the site (which can take up to two days to fully appreciate) before the minibus returned.
The site was serviced by a small train line, with only one track. This meant trains could only travel in one direction between the 3 stops. We had to wait half an hour for our first train, and when it stopped at the first terminal we were ordered to disembark and join the end of the existing queue if we wanted to carry on to the next terminal (which we did). We then watched as a few trains went back and forth in the wrong direction before we were allowed on.
An hour into being in the park we had seen nothing, and stood still in the freezing cold wind and rain until we could not feel our fingers or toes.
Disembarking the train at “The Devil’s Throat” we stormed past all other tourists in an attempt to warm up. I hate to think what the park would be like on a sunny day, as it seemed over its capacity despite the weather, with walkways only wide enough to walk two abreast. The Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) is reputedly the most impressive of the 275 falls in the park; a U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide and 700-meter-long (490 by 2300 feet) cascade which marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. We appreciated its beauty for long enough to take a few photos, and then hurried back to the train to a) warm up and b) make sure we did not miss the minibus home! We had to laugh at ourselves and our “forced tourism” and forced enjoyment of the day.
A welcomed hot drink and empanada and we were on our way to our pre-booked boat trip up to the falls. By now the rain had stopped and it felt
a little warmer, and with the scenic walk down to the boat our moods improved. On board the boat our belongings were put in dry bags and the driver pulled his raincoat up around his face. He knew something we didn’t. Thank God for our waterproof trousers and coats (although Chris’s leaked a little) - not only did we go up to the falls, we went under a couple! In fits of laughter and soaking wet, we were happy with the day despite the weather.
On walking around the rest of the park we were spotted groups of cute little racoon like animals (we later found out they were called Coatis, or Brazilian Aardvarks) but could not manage a good photo before they ran off. Purely by accident I rustled my unopened crisp packet in their presence, and they literally climbed me like a tree, reaching above my waist to try and get a taste of my Walkers! No doubt they have been fed in the past, and a busybody guide shooed them away whilst everyone was trying to take a photo.
Upon returning to the hostel we were told that there were no private rooms free that
evening, and we would have to stay in a dorm. We agreed of course, as we were in the middle of nowhere and this was the only hostel for miles around that had any private rooms on offer anyway. We were then handed room keys for two separate dorms. They were single sex! With the weather so bad all we wanted to do was snuggle up together in front of a heater, but as we were not allowed in each others’ rooms (which were without heaters anyway) we were forced to spend the evening outside again! And after looking forward to a hot shower all day, I was told there was no hot water in the shared bathrooms. We donned our thermals, hats and gloves, but the best remedy of all was the Brazilian cocktails, which warmed me right up. We spent the evening chatting to an Australian guy named Chris, from Sydney, who we had met during the day after he had put his wife (Abbey) and gorgeous 3-year-old (Audrey) to bed. Chris's Corner
The boat trip up to and subsequently under the waterfalls really saved the day, we had been absolutely freezing and wet, through no
choice of our own, but now we were soaked and warmed by our laughter! Luckily this took place just as the weather started to improve! Cold to the core though and nowhere warm to hang out, Sophie took a couple of cocktails to warm and cheer up. We did agree it had been a great day in the end, just a shame we had no time left on our tight schedule to visit the Brazilian side of the falls.
There are more photos below