Iguassu Falls

Trip Start Feb 10, 2008
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Trip End Aug 14, 2008


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

We flew into Puerto Iguassu, after an overnight stop in Buenos Aires, with great excitement and wondering whether the Iguassu Falls would live up to our expectations. This had been the place that had started the whole idea of a trip to South America and here we finally were. We arrived at the Sheraton Iguassu Resort on  the Argentinian side of the Falls and it is the only hotel inside the National Park where the Falls are. From the outside it looks rather plain but once inside the lobby the view looking out at the jungle and the falls beyond  is amazing. We had booked the hotel on  the internet and mentioned that it was our anniversary and my 60th so could we please have a nice room. Initially they welcomed us and asked me if I would prefer a cake or champagne as a birthday gift which I thought was rather a nice touch ( I chose the latter although David, the sweet-tooth, may have been disappointed). Then a senior-looking person came over and there was lots of chatting in Spanish. We wondered if there was a problem with our reservation and started to worry as we knew the hotel was fully-booked. Then they said that they could offer us an upgrade to a suite but only for 3 of the 4 nights and would it be OK if we had to move for the last night. It didn't take us long to decide!!! Wow what a treat; the hotel only has 4 suites and we were in one of them. This was a special start to our celebratory stay. It was a huge suite with a large balcony with table and chairs and 2 sun- beds and the view of the Falls took our breath away. We could not believe that we were finally here and in such luxury.

The Iguassa Falls is a World Heritage area and can be viewed from Argentina or Brazil as the border runs down the centre of one of the main rivers running into the falls. There are nearly 300 waterfalls plunging up to 82m along 3km. They are wider than the Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara Falls. Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have exclaimed 'Poor Niagara! This makes Niagara look like a faucet' She was right as they are amazing.
We were so pleased that we had chosen to stay on the Argentinian side as we could walk straight out of the hotel and choose from  walks above and below the Falls and jungle trails too. We had a day trip to the Brazilian side ( a 40 minute drive) and the panoramic views were good but it was much more touristy and organised than the natural feel on the Argentine side. The latter is more laid-back and one can get so close to the rushing water. The falls are immense and the noise incredible with spray from the seething water visible for miles around. We walked and walked and saw the Falls from so many angles at different times of day. David used our camera for video for the first time to try to give an impression of the size and sound of the water. If you click on the still photos they expand but with the video they expand and you must click again on an arrow to play them. Just click on the 2 video photos to get the sound and movie experience. David is doing a great job as official blog photographer. Normal photos cannot do justice to the immense beauty; in fact no photos can get close to the experience but hope these give you a feel for the Falls.
We had a romantic anniversary dinner with the complimentary champagne.  The next day, on my birthday, we took a boat trip into part of the falls; we went fairly close to the main part; the Devil's Throat which was  rough water and then actually under the second biggest of the falls. The roar of the water drowned out our screams as we went back under the water a second time. When we climbed back up afterwards and saw where we had been we realised how mad we were to be only metres from disaster. We were like drowned rats but what an amazing experience. It felt good to be 60.

David bought me a big birthday card in Spanish and it looked quite OK with cute things on it and lots of writing inside. As we were rushing out early,  I put it up in the room hoping to translate some with the aid of a dictionary later in the day when we returned from our boat trip into the falls. So I sat down in the afternoon and, as I looked up words to make sentences I realised that it was a rather crude card and felt so embarrassed that the maid could perhaps have read it. Definitely not suitable for people  who stay in a suite!!

  The National Park is teeming with wildlife and we saw lots of different species of butterflies, insects and birds as well as unusual mammals and reptiles.
One often sees greetings cards with pictures of rainbows and butterflies; well I had my 60th birthday surrounded by brilliantly-coloured butterflies looking at rainbows. The experience of the Falls exceeded all our expectations, which were high anyway. It is a very special place and to have the luxury of our suite to return to after our walks was the icing on the cake. We will certainly not forget this beautiful place.
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