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Alicia & Rich's Roads to Everywhere London to Australia on the route less traveled

Iguazu Falls

ARGENTINA | Thursday, 22 January 2009 | Views [480]

So who's ever heard of Iguazu Falls? I know I hadn't (until we planned on coming here - one of Alicia's crackpot ideas). Just to give you a quick bit of info: They're on the shared border between Brazil and Argentina (and also Paraguay), and they're actually a series of 275 waterfalls, making them one of the largest falls in the world. Although having said that, pretty much all the big waterfalls seem to claim to be the largest by one statistic or another (tallest, widest, most water, most number of falls, etc...). The two most common ways to view the falls are either from the Brazil side (Parque Nacional do Iguaçu) or the Argentina side (Parque Nacional Iguazú). You can of course see both sides but we're in a bit of a rush to get down to Buenos Aires so we opt for the more popular (and easier for us since we're already here) Argentinian side.

You walk into the national park but it feels kind of like an amusement park. There's a tidy new pathway leading you past some shops and stalls until you reach the train station. From here you catch a train that takes you to a couple of different view points. Now the map you get when you enter clearly isn't to scale and you quickly get to appreciate why the train is necessary - I certainly wouldn't fancy walking all this way!

We decide to go to the end of the line first, to the path that leads to the Devil's Throat. There's still a bit of a walk ahead, but it's interesting as you get to cross and recross the winding river at various points along the way. We can see the river is running high, and that can only be a good thing for the falls!

Finally we arrive at the Devil's Throat, and it was well worth the journey. Just seeing it from a distance is spectacular, but you can do one better. You follow the path onto a man-made platform that stands right on the edge. When the wind blows in certain directions the spray from the wall of rushing water soaks the people on the platform. And when you're standing there, with the spray and the wall of white water in front of you, it feels like you're hovering over the middle. Awesome.

We're pretty excited about the falls now so we press on to the other train stop. From here there are a couple of paths. One giving views from the top; the other (you guessed it) views from bottom. We go for the upper path first and spend ages taking loads of pictures, but time's getting on and we're keen to go on one of the boat rides so we have to rush.

The boats leave from the lower path and there's one last boat leaving today. We just make it, and after filling a heavy duty plastic bag with all our valuables, we board a little speed boat, along with a few young families. Why's the bag necessary? Because we're gonna get wet. The driver takes you right into one of the smaller falls and you get absolutely soaked. Cries of "Otra!" "Otra!" (mainly from the parents) encourage the driver to go again, and then again. Well at least you get value for your money.

After the boat, we return to the train via the last few view points. The intense heat has dried us thoroughly by now and as soon as we sit down on the train, we realise how exhausted we are. All we need now is for the bus to break down on the way back into town. Nice.

 

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