Rainbows, Butterflies and Iguazu Falls = Happy Kim

Trip Start Jul 01, 2013
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Trip End Jul 01, 2014


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

As we pulled into the heavily treed Puerto Iguazu we felt as if we were almost back in Africa with the bright red earth, cobbled streets and more rustic buildings. This was a big change from the more modern and almost european feel of Buenos Aires. We located our hotel and met our eccentric host Enrique. Through his broken english he explained the happenings in town and ended up talking for a quite a while as he loved to try out his english with us. 
After upgrading us, we think because there was no one else in the complex, he showed us to the large apartment style loft above his residence. The place was quite old and run down, but typical of small town Argentina. We settled our things before heading into town for some exploring. 


Puerto Iguazu is a very small town, even with the tourist draw of the impressive Iguazu falls, this sleepy little town has stayed grounded and kept its traditional roots, minus the obvious touristy souvenir shops. Our first stop was another interesting yet much less impressive draw of the town. Just to the north of our hotel is the 3 way junction of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. The border is marked by two rivers intersecting, and from the lookout on the Argentinian side you can see the jungly river banks of the two other countries. There is not much to actually see except treed riverbanks, but they are in the process of building a new interpretative centre so maybe there will be more info in the future. We decided to walk back to town via a winding road down the side of the river valley. It was a nice walk in the sun, and we were kind of happy to feel the muggy humid air of the jungle once again… at least kind of anyways. 
 

When we popped back up into town we found a busier street with several restaurants. We have to say the food here has been delicious. The rumours of Argentine beef being amazing is not a lie, the steaks here are quite delicious, rivalling that of beloved alberta, but served with cheaper and better wine. After another wonderful meal we made our way through the dog filled streets back to our hotel. We mention the dogs as they are everywhere. The amount of “stray” dogs is kind of shocking, but we have also not seen many fences, so we are not sure how “stray” they really are. 


Well the time has finally come to witness one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Kim awoke with excitement at the possibilities of glorious waterfalls, stunning nature and an abundance of butterflies… Well one article at least suggested it so she was excited. We got on the bus and made our way 45 mins to the park entrance. After paying our fees we were finally ready to go. We had booked the all inclusive tour involving a 4x4 ride to the river, a river speedboat tour, a shower and a raft ride, plus of course viewing the beautiful falls. 


We had a couple hours before our tour started so we made our way to the upper falls viewing trail. Well after being impressed by the immense Victoria Falls, we both pondered what this falls would be like. Well our first impressions of the trail system was very positive, as we walked around the edge of the falls. As we approached the first viewpoint it was beautiful, the falls are broken into many large falls separated by several island like pinnacles surrounded by the rushing water. After taking in the stunning first part of the falls, we made our way back to the centre lodge for our tour. 

 
We started the tour by boarding a large old school Mercedes truck with a bunch of seats in the box. We drove through the jungle, while our guide explained some of the surrounding flora and fauna. We arrived at the rivers edge and started down the stairs to our speedboats. We took our the rain jackets and prepared for the worst, as we were reported to get pretty close to the falls. As we got on the boat with the seats still wet from the last group, we knew we were in for a wet and wild ride. We made our way up the river and over some small rapids before the falls came into view. The different prospective from the base of the falls was awesome, we stopped and took some pictures, before our captain, said “time to put the cameras away” we tucked everything into the supplied dry bags and got ready for some spray. With a loud cheer from our fellow passengers, the captain drove the boat almost directly under one of the larger waterfalls. The amount of spray and water was tremendous, we thought the Victoria falls gravity deifying rain was bad, this was a full scale carwash. After catching our breath, we turned the boat and drove us over to the larger falls near Garganta del Diablo for another bath. After getting thoroughly drenched, even with the rain jackets, it was time to exit the boat. 


They dump you out at the bottom of the lower falls loop os we walked up the track viewing the glorious falls along the way. We were also greeted with some sun as it started to poke its head out form behind the clouds resulting in a number of rainbows and breath taking views. The next stop after the lower track was the train station to take us up to the very top boardwalk near Garganta del Diablo. A pleasant, short train ride through the jungle and we arrived. Kim imediatly started to smile from ear to ear as we were welcomed by 100’s of butterflies of many different colours. We walked the catwalks over to the falls, probably almost a kilometre in length and suspended above the river leading to the falls. The butterflies were everywhere, landing on your hands, face, bag, etc. With glee Kim skipped down the boardwalk in butterfly heaven. As we rounded one of the bends we saw a startling sight, there was a rather large River crocodile below the platform, which seemed very strange for its location. We watched as he sat basking in the sun. Then one of the guides called out something in Spanish with “chompy” in it. Then threw something to the croc, which proceeded to chomp it down. A little disappointed and disturbed about the “feeding” we made our way down the trail. 

 
Once again we started to hear the familiar roar of the falls. This was a very different approach to viewing a waterfall. As this area is very flat and surrounded by water, then out of nowhere there is a large sinkhole that takes the entire rivers flow and shoots it down into the chasm below. The amount of water is staggering, we approach the edge and all you can see is mist below the falls from so much pulverized water. We sit in awe for a while just watching before taking a ton of pictures and heading back. The walk back is as wonderful as the walk-in, the butterflies frolic around us as we make our way back to the river bank. 


On the way back we find several families of Coatis, strange racoon like creatures with longer snouts that they wriggle around smelling for food. They are interesting little creatures, very cute and deceptively sneaky in stealing food from naive visitors. 


We have a short break before our raft ride, so we take in the flocks of butterflies in the sun. The raft ride is 20 mins down the river through the forest. The trip is slow and relaxing with not much to see really, just jungly goodness. 


With our day coming to an end in this glorious park, we wander the trails back to the entrance after a wonderful day.
The ride back is quick and we walk through town to grab something to eat. After another great meal before retiring to the hotel. 
 

Tomorrow, we head South… way south down to El Calafate in Patagonia where we plan to see ice, mountains and nature. 


Until then 


Much Love 


K2

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