Iguazu Falls

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
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106
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Trip End Feb 18, 2007


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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Are These The World's Greatest Waterfalls?

Our next destination, the Iguazu Falls, a huge mass of falling water rivaled by few others, is located on a three way border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

As we are approaching from Paraguay, and are going to first visit the Argentinian side of the falls, we need to first pass through Brazil. In this case, at this triple border area, to avoid having to go through 4 sets of immigration, there is a special bus which we took that stops at Paraguayan immigration, rushes non-stop through the outskirts of the city of Foz do Iguazu in Brazil, direct to Argentinian immigration. It was a weird experience and contrast to go from poor, dirty, chaotic and slightly dodgy Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, traversing Portuguese speaking, relatively rich Foz do Iguazu in Brazil and just 14 minutes later arriving in laid back Spanish speaking Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. I think 14 minutes will end up being the record for the least amount of time we've ever spent in a country :)

There's not much to see or do in the town of Puerto Iguazu, but the star of the show is not far out of town. As we walk down from the park entrance and first set eyes on these gigantic falls, we couldn't fail to be impressed.

The Argentinian side of the falls allows you to get close up and they have built a walkway which even lets you stare down into the thundering mass of the falls most intensive point, La Garganta del Diablo. Here, water constantly falls in immense quantities from three sides into a horseshoe shaped bowl, creating an immense cloud of mist which climbs for what must be a hundred metres and leaves a huge rainbow climbing out of the centre and heading towards the sky.

To really feel part of the falls you can take a boat which dips under several of the individual falls, and gets you wet. We tried this, but what we didn't realise was that getting wet is an understatement, you get absolutely drenched, it feels like you're sitting under the world's biggest shower.

After a couple of days on the Argentinian side, we head over to the Brazilian side. We don't speak any Portuguese, but luckily, in the border town, most people speak some Spanish. The first thing we notice is how much more expensive everything is compared with Argentina. If I were a local, I think I'd often be crossing the border to Argentina to do my shopping and eat out-:)

The Brazilian side of the falls don't give you such a close up view as the Argentinian side, but the reason people come here is for the panoramic view, which also left us amazed because of the sight of over 200 waterfalls simultaneously dropping their water over an immense area.

Unforgettable!
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