Iguassu Falls

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
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51
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Trip End Aug 25, 2013


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Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We thought there was nothing much left to compare with all the amazing things we've seen on our trip, but Iguzu Falls left us open-mouthed. The sheer power of the falls in full flood, combined with their width and the incredible walkways right over them is unlike anything I've experienced before.

We decided to fly to Foz Iguacu, the nondescript Brazilian town nearest the falls, to save ourselves a 30 hour bus journey. As we decended the aircraft we were handed an umbrella each... in retrospect that should have warned us about the weather ahead.

I'd chosen the hostel Paudimare Campestre in part becuase it had a swimming pool, and had visions of recovering from the journey with a nice afternoon swimming. Sadly this was not to be - the temperature was about 15 degrees, and the rain hammered down all afternoon. In fact a big hole in the ground had appeared behind our room and we had to move to another one. Luckily they also had good internet, and a table-tennis table so we managed to get through the rest of the day.

The next day we were told that parts of the falls were closed because of high water, so we decided to go to the Brazilian side which doesn't have the walkways over the falls. Two short bus rides later were were at the very impressive visitor centre, clearly set up to receive thousands of visitors a day. One benefit of the rain and cold was that most them weren't there when we were. We bought our tickets and then took a longish bus ride (included in the ticket price) through the forest reserve that surrounds the falls.

Our first sight of the falls was long-range, but pretty impressive with a loud roar. We took advantage of a photography service to get a rare photo of us all together. The falls didn't look at all like they do in the usual pictures you see - they were a solid wall of brown water, rather than a series of pretty blue waterfalls interspersed with green islands. We couldn't see the famous Devils Throat cataract because of the huge amount of spray and mist.

We made our way along the trail, weaving in and out of a Japanese tourist groupand a group of OAPs who were valiantly making their way through the rain and steep slopes. Every new viewpoint seemed better than the last, as we made our way closer and closer to the main cataracts. The final viewpoint was practically underwater from all the spray and we were thoroughly soaked. Luckily Izzy and I had wellies still from Ecuador, and we all had waterproofs. We also enjoyed watching a group of very overweight coatis scavenging at the cafe before taking a taxi back to a warm shower.

The next day we went to the Argentinian side of the falls, which is a very different experience. On the Brazillian side you see the view, but on the Argentinian side you are in it. The Argentinian side was much lower key than Brazil, and they provided more chance to walk in the National Park which we enjoyed. When we arrived only one of the four walkways was open, the 'Inferior Cataracts' (enough to give any self-respecting waterfall an inferiority complex). We spent a couple of hours walking the trail and enjoying amazing views of the waterfalls and river. After lunch and gift shopping, we regrouped with the French couples on our tour (organized by the hostel and the simplest way to get through the borders). They had heard that the 'Superior caratact' might open later and luckily they were correct. We spent about 2 hours on the incredible walkways over the water and islands between the falls. The noise and power was frightening, and the views over the very edge of some of the enormous falls were spellbinding.
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