Published: April 12th 2012April 12th 2012
The day after meeting the Iguaçu Falls in Brazil, we crossed the border and visited the Iguazú Falls, a short ride away but a change in language and a change in title for the same water that runs along the river and over the edge.
Entering the National Park in Argentina is a very different experience to that of Brazil, and the time taken to visit the Falls is more than double the three hours that covered the Brazilian side. The main reason being that Argentina has 80% of the Waterfalls and Brazil just 20%. Within the Argentine Park there are three trails for you to follow; an upper, a lower and the trip to the Devil's Throat.
We began our day following the lower trail, a route that takes you much closer to the Falls, where you could literally reach out and touch the water. The track takes you through the Forest and past many more species of insect and varieties of trees and plants. You feel much more like you are truly in the Jungle and in the Falls on the Argentine side of the river, and accompanying this feeling are the strange noises from the trees
that you can't quite identify and the almost suffocating feel of the moisture in the air.
We visited the Falls when the river was low, following weeks without the necessary rain to refill its banks. The Falls were functioning at less than 40% of their normal capacity and yet they still managed to make you stop and stare, gasping at the change in scenery at every turn in the trail. Following the lower trail, we moved up to the upper trail which was exactly as it said on the tin. This path takes you across scaffolded walkways, enabling you to walk over the smaller waterfalls, feeling and hearing them run underneath your feet as you look down. I can imagine that as the river fills and the cascades reach their capacity this can become quite a moving experience. As with the Brazilian side, you are guided from a distance to the main Falls, building your anticipation and excitement as you get closer, but the difference is that on the Argentine side you feel as if you are really experiencing the Falls rather than looking at them and admiring them from afar.
After a fair bit of walking, we
stopped for lunch. This was a much more relaxed affair as the Quatis behaved much better and generally appeared less enthusiastic than their Brazilian cousins. The Argentinians had also mastered the bin problem with hand locks on all of them! Lunch was more than necessary as we had more walking to do and more water to see. The final trail of our day was the route to the Devil's Throat, the main attraction on this side of the river.
I had heard about the Devil's Throat and had glanced it from Brazil but could not understand how it had been named, however when seeing it from Argentina it becomes more obvious. After a short train ride, you continue along the trail. As you walk along the scaffolded pathway, you cross over a sedate, calm part of the Iguazú River where you find it hard to believe that you are close to waterfalls, but the noise that you can hear from afar tells you that you are closer than you think. As you get closer and closer to the noise you begin to see what looks like a hole in the water, the beginning of the Devil's Throat; drawing ever
nearer you see the water pass down as if within a throat and on reaching the Devil's Throat itself you are overwhelmed by the ferocity of the Falls. It takes all of your willpower to stay within the safety of the walkway while nature reminds you of what she can do. The Falls in this part beat down so strongly that the mist from them rises up to greet you and looking down all you can see is white, no water, no rocks, no trees, just white covering your eyes. Truly awe inspiring.
Now is a good time to tell you of the Legend of the Falls, as at this point in the trail it is easiest to understand. Before the Europeans arrived in South America, the land surrounding the river and waterfalls here belonged to the Guaraní Indians, tribes of whom still live in the nearby areas of South America. According to the legend, the Guaraní People believed that the river was home to a Serpent River God named M'Boi and each year they would sacrifice a virgin to this River God. One year however, M'Boi saw Naipi a beautiful virgin who was due to be married to
a great warrior named Taruba, M'Boi fell in love with her and demanded that she be the sacrifice of the year. Naipi and Taruba were devastated and plotted to run away together however M'Boi saw them and became so angry that he writhed and twisted causing new nooks in the river and when his anger reached its peak, he split the Earth in two causing the waterfalls to be created. As this happened, Naipi began to fall, to save her M'Boi turned her into a rock. He then turned on Taruba and where Taruba had been reaching out to touch Naipi his fingers were turned into roots, M'Boi made him into a tree. M'Boi had given the worst punishment possible to the couple, they were destined to see each other for eternity without ever being able to touch.
As well as the Legend of the Falls, the Guaraní people also gave the river and the waterfalls here their name. In the Guaraní language Iguaçu means Big Water. An understandable name but in this case it really feels like an understatement!
Having visited the Falls on both sides, Brazil remains my favourite, but that is a personal opinion, in
order to know what you think, the only option is to experience them yourselves, enjoy!
I will be back very soon with more updates I promise. In the meantime, take care,
There are more photos below