Waterfalls or as we like to call them vertical rivers are everybodys favorite thing to watch.
Maybe its becuase your parents always told you to turn off the water when brushing your teeth or not to take too long in the shower. If thats the reason then you can work out all your childhood trauma here, at Iguazu, by watching millions of gallons of water go over the edge and no one can say anything about it.
To other, more balanced, people its the sheer scale of the Iguazu waterfalls that is so attractive. Whatever it is we will go and check it out and you have the first row seat with us, lucky you. Cuz you didnt have to suffer the 2 day, 850 mile drive from Buenos Aires.
Btw, Hyein just informed me that Iguazu used to belong to Paraguay, but sneaky Argentina got some land again. I was wondering why there is just a thin strip of land maybe 60 miles across that goes from Buenos Aires to the falls and then just stops. This further reinforces my view of Argentina’s politics in South America. WATCH OUT USA, next they will claim Hawaii.
So the first thing that you see when you arrive is this notice of wild life running around. It might be all cute and nice during the day when you are in a huge tour bus, but if you are like us and arrived at 1 am, parked in front of park entrance and slept in our roof top tent, then you take these signs seriously.
In the morning the nice park staff let is sleep in till 8 am and then kindly told us to go to the parking lot. We made coffee, charged the GoPro, packed the rain jackets and set off.
The waterfalls are huge, something like 5 km in length overall. And divide into three main sections. The first section is furthest from the entrance and you can take a 5 minute train ride to get there.
Yeah, walking is for peasants and young people. We put our hats down and blended with a group of senior citizens.
Ar the top of the falls the Iguazu river is very wide and slow, so it was possible to build elevated walkways that cross the river and get you right up to the falls. The top section of the falls is the most impressive in terms of height but its located in the middle of the river, so would be impossible to see on foot without these nifty bridges.
You walk maybe for 10 minutes all on these bridges that go from one little island to the next. Im not sure how fast the water is, but it feels like if you fell in you would have ample chances to swim to the nearest island and grab for safety. Didn’t try, Hyein said it was not the best idea.
See the little islands that I’m talking about? Oh yeah and you can see the mist from the falls already.
First reaction as you approach and only see the part where the water just goes over the edge – thats terrifying and awesome. The combination of speed and volume of water going down makes you shudder, we all subconsciously imagine ourselves in that flow and our utter inability to prevent the inevitable.
At the end of the walkway there is a platform where everyone loiters around pretending to work for National Geographic.
The platform lets you stand right on top of a small section of the falls. Ive been to the Niagara Falls and dont remember doing that, probably US and Canada haven’t researched Mathematics yet, which if you remember your Civ is required for bridge building. Get that tech tree going.
Once in a while to mess with the tourists, the Iguazu throws up a giant ball of mist that covers everyone on the platform. Everyone shrieks as their precious iPads get wet, thats right its a glorified newspaper, put it away and enjoy the awesome power of nature. And bring a GoPro next time, better yet a Lily.
There is almost nothing in this picture for scale, so i would be safe in saying “that its like a thousand feet fall”.
We stopped admiring and asked one of the Planet Earth cameraman to take a picture of us. It was cloudy but for some reason the waterfalls are blindingly bright, impossible to look at without sunglasses.
Saw everyone looking over the rail on the way back to the train – a turtle. Actually a pair of turtles, the other one was trying to get up on the concrete but couldnt do it. We watched the feeble attempts for 5 minutes and walked off knowing full well that this turtle will not live though the night – the waterfalls are coming.
Another view of the first section of the falls. They are by far the highest and due to the topography form a very long and skinny U-shape. And get to stand on one of the flat piece, right as it curves, giving you the view across and to the side.
And they if you look down the flat side of the U that you are standing on, then you will these beautiful green fields that magically turn into water as they go over the rocks.
Come early, there is a ton of people who also want to admire the falls.
Tired of waiting around for all the professionals, we just did it ourselves.
Quick train ride back, this time no senior citizen to hide our shame.
Now we go to the middle section of the falls. Here they are not as impressive in height, but its all about the girth.
Another disappointment is that you have to walk instead of riding a train…psh, I came here to be entertained not to exercise.
Luckily, you are quickly distracted by these little creatures…no, these are not Argentinian lemurs, these are coatis. I looked it up, just for you guys, these are related to racoons…or trash pandas as they are commonly known. Here they are not afraid of people or begging for food, just like their North American cousins. They dont take any shit and will bite you if you taunt them with food. So when they stand in your way, just pay your share and safely pass.
“Eaay, Tony but I dont got nothing.”
“Quit bullshiting us Ivan, we’ve been ready the blog. WHERE IS ALL THE BEEF?”
Had to go buy a steak just so that I could take this photo for you guys, do you feel the love and sacrifice?
The first section that we visited is all the way in the back of these waterfalls and cannot really be seen.
Just passing by, no need for confrontation. Btw, they smell like sour socks or that toe fluff you get from new socks…you know what im talking about, dont be shy we are all friends here.
Another overall shot of the second section, at this point they are almost a kilometer in width and you can walk the bridge about halfway through the falls.
Aaah, a little sneak peak at the last section of the falls, where you can walk up next to the waterfalls from below. There is a picture of us with the falls behind us, that was taken right down there where you see those tiny human figures. No…they are normal humans, just far away.
My favorite photo of the post, the water just comes out of the jungle and hits so many cool little island on the way down. This is something out of Tarzan, Lion King or Avatar. I mean to say that all of those films try to allude to this place.
The danger sign…ill translate it for you.
“This is our land, pay your dues or otherwise we will hit you with rebar, shoot laserguns and possibly murder you. Sincerely yours, trash pandas.”
Finally, there is something to give a sense of scale. The boat down there ks as wide as Boeing 747. And the bird is closer to us…otherwise it would be monstrously big.
Last section, you get to walk up to the falls, take a photo and get out. In less than 10 seconds you will be completely wet. Thats why some smart people go just in swimwear.
On the way back to the car saw these cite little mama monkey and her baby. These are much more shy, Hyein had to chase them with the camera.
Local ant size, the coin is about US quarter size…so…a very big ant.
Inspirational quotes from the bathroom. You never know where and when the inspiration strikes you, plus in a bathroom stall you have a captive audience.
Now, you are thinking…wow that was cool, is it worth it?
Again, that would be a yes. We spent at least 5 hours walking around and did not feel bored by the views once.
The falls are located on the border with Brazil and you can actually go look at them from that side. We thought we had enough for one day and just started driving back.
Where are you taking us next, Ivan?
Next we will go together to Uruguay, to send the car off to Korea and become good old regular backpackers for a month.