Las Cataratas de Iguazú

Published: August 13th 2015
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Welcome back, readers! Sorry again for the long delay. Our hotel in Iguazú actually only has internet at reception, so we were nicely out of touch for quite some time.

Anyway, as you should know, we are now in Puerto Iguazú, a town in the north of Argentina. Nearby is Iguazú National Park, where the widest (or second, depending) waterfalls in the world are. The Brazil-Argentina border splits them, so both sides get a lot of tourism.

There's plenty to do in the park and a ton of different ways to get a good view. The big ones are the three walkways, and the park adventures, which cost extra but are apparently worth it.

For today, Serena and I covered the walkways. Starting with the lower, which is about halfway up the falls, we got to get up close and personal with one. The upper takes you over the top of the falls. Lastly, the Devil's throat takes you into the meat of it all.

The falls are shaped like a "J", opening to the west. The south side - the Argentine side - has the tail of the J, with an extra, I would guess, kilometer
These are coatisThese are coatisThese are coatis

they're dicks and steal food
and a half. They have about 80% of the falls, and Brazil 20%. Therefore, Brazil gets the better view but Argentina gets more up close.

This is one of those times when words do no justice and pictures little, but they'll be better than anything I can say to impress upon you the frankly absurd amount of water coming over the falls.

From the lower walkway, we first got to meander through the jungle for a while. Although it's thick, it's not too wet, despite its proximity. It also teems with exotic (to us) animals. Coatis, which are reminiscent of anteaters and related to raccoons, monkeys (I don't know which species, but they're like Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean), and birds - including toucans - abound. The walkway brings you over a couple small sister falls - ones that in the US, not near Niagara, would be pretty cool, but here are jokes - then comes around the corner and opens like a curtain upon the mother of all waterfalls. 275 individual drops, all at least 200 feet, spanning nearly 2 miles. Although Victoria Falls boasts a wider curtain of water, as it is uninterrupted, Iguazú is the widest non-rapids waterfall in the world, and it shows.

Partway through, there was a small offshoot that took you about 20 feet from one of the wider drops of the falls. Going to the end meant getting pelted with mist coming off the falls, so of course we went in and hung out there for a while. It was a great way to cool off and intimidating enough just to see up close.

After the lower walkway, and lunch consistently interrupted by hungry and aggressive coatis, we went to the upper walkway. Heading there, we walked by the Sheraton, which is the only hotel in the park, and is a full-on resort with great views of the waterfalls. It's also $275 a night, hence why we're not staying there.

The upper walkway took us over the top of the waterfalls, about 10-20 feet short of the actual edge. It afforded great views, and you could watch the water start to fall over the edge in seemingly slow motion. From the end of that, we hopped on the park train, which took us the 3-ish miles up to the Devil's Throat walkway. This walkway took you into

They're adorable but apparently also steal
the heart of the J, meaning that you were looking over a full 270o of waterfall, and it was quite misty. Although we got sprayed a lot, and couldn't see the bottom, it was amazing to be that up close to such a beast.

We then hopped on the ecological tour, which was a calming trip on a rowboat along the upper river. Our guide didn't speak English, so I was translating for Serena - good practice! There are apparently three species of turtles there, and several endemic (only extant in one location) species of fish. As the falls block any predators from coming upstream, the fish could evolve without much fear. Pacu, for one, evolved from the same ancestor as piranhas, but are vegetarians and weak-toothed.

After the park - and a nap on the bus - we got back to our hotel, and headed out to a nice pizza place for dinner, where I got the biggest hamburger I've seen in my life. So worth it. Tomorrow, we're going back for more adventures, so stay tuned!

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


In the devil's throatIn the devil's throat
In the devil's throat

That is all water vapor. We literally couldn't see downwards, and it's always like this
Rainbow capture!Rainbow capture!
Rainbow capture!

And more water vapor
Inside the Devil's throatInside the Devil's throat
Inside the Devil's throat

So much water. About 61,660 cu. ft/s

It's really just absurd
Everything white is waterfallEverything white is waterfall
Everything white is waterfall

Including that white cloud on the horizon a third of the way in from the left - that's vapor from the Devil's Throat

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