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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

The magnificent Iguazu Falls

ARGENTINA | Friday, 11 September 2015 | Views [398]

Argentinian side

We arrived at the bus station in Peurto Iguazu at about 7:30am. It was raining. We figured out how to get the the falls from the station and how we would then get to Brazil. Both buses left from this bus station, which was a lot easier than I thought. I thought we would have to try to navigate how to get to another bus station etc. The guy at the tourist desk spoke English and was very helpful which was good. We got changed in the bathrooms, boots and our North Face knock off jackets ready for the rain and brushed our teeth etc., got a day bag ready and then put our big bags in a locker. We hopped on a bus which would take us to the falls. It got very jungly and reminded me of being back in the Amazon. When we got to the entrance of the National Park we had to get on a small train would take us to Devil's Throat. There were lots of people about and you had to walk along a walkway for about 10min which was built above a plateau, wetland type area. The rain had actually stopped here and the sun was shining through the clouds. There were birds and butterflies flying about the trees. We then got to the viewing platform and looked over the incredible Devil's Throat of the Iguazu Falls. It was outrageously huge! The water was just pouring over the edge of the cliff and mist was rising back above because it was just so heavy and so much water. It was spraying all the people taking photos and selfies with themselves and this beastly movement of water. I have never seen so much water in my life and it dropped I think about 1100m in to the river below but as mentioned before, there was just so much of it the spray most caused a whiteout to view anything underneath it. There was also a flock of black birds spiralling down in to the water and darting back up. It was quite a site and I was very taken aback by its sheer magnificence. After seeing Devil's Throat we walked back to the train which dropped us to a point where we could walk along two trails of the upper and lower falls. We decided to walk the upper one first. Along the way we saw a group of little possum like creatures but with a long pig snout called coatis. There were lots of signs about saying don't feed the monkeys and coatis as they can scratch and bite. A couple were rummaging in rubbish bins and just walking past us so I think they had grown accustomed to humans being around and were even considered pests in the National Park. This part of the walk you could see more of the falls front on. I didn't realise how big they were, there were countless waterfalls streaming off the side of the cliff. The upper trail let you walk on top of all the falls and look down at them. It was pretty cool to be so close. The rocks and cliffs were also covered in a rich green moss which made the scenery quite beautiful. The only thing was that there were that many tourists walking these trails  (including us hehe) it was so hard to get a good photo. The back of the balding head of the big American guy would somehow photo bomb your shot or the two European girls with a selfie stick, making sure their hair and lipstick is just perfect. Or a group of little old Spanish women would push past you to get a better glimpse for themselves, not caring who's way they were in. There was an island in the middle of the river that the Iguazu Falls surrounded which reminded me of Jurassic Park or something. Usually you could catch a boat to the island and walk around for another aspect of the falls but because of the recent rain, the tide was too high and rough so they were not running the boats today. You could also catch a speed, raft boat thing in the river and ride underneath the waterfalls, which we were recommended to do but it cost a lot so we decided against it. 

We then walked the lower trail. On our way down we saw two monkeys quite close up in the trees. We also saw a pretty royal bluey/black coloured bird with a crown feathers on its head. It was sitting on the arm railing looking at me and letting me take a couple of photos. The lower trail allowed for a better view of the stretch of waterfalls front on. It also let us get close to one particular one where it felt like you were standing underneath it and looked right up at the water gushing down. It also let you see the wet rocks and green moss up close and apparently the birds that fly overhead of the falls also nest on the side of these rocks. We couldn't spot any though. It was about 1 or 2pm so took a good 4 or 5 hours to walk around the whole Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side and we were now pretty hungry. We went to the food area which had lots of people and the coatis rummaging around. Sandwiches etc were ridiculously priced - about $20AUD for one sand which so we tried to look elsewhere. We went to another area which had a Subway counter inside the shop and was ok priced so got a sandwich from there instead. When we are it outside, we had a stick and had to keep scaring off the coatis who were not afraid to come close to try to get your food. We had a quick walk through the museum at the end which was quite interesting before jumping back on the bus back to the bus station. We got our bags from the lockers and then got on the bus to cross the Brazilian border - our last new country of our trip :) :( the crossing was fairly simple - I don't think the woman at the border security even checked the Brazilian visa in our passports that Matt and I had to get and pay for at the Brazilian consulate in Sydney before we left. That was a hassle when planning our trip at home that we had to fill out applications online, get recent passport photos taken, get money orders from the post office only and took half days off work 3 times to go all the way in the city to apply for this visa at the Brazilian Consulate in Sydney. It was a hassle and costly and the people that worked there were rude. The border security also didn't ask for the yellow card which shows proof of getting our Yellow fever needles, which was a requirement to enter the country. Thinking about it, it was a hectic time before we had to leave. The visa, Going to the doctors three times for different rounds of needles, including yellow fever, hep A and B etc., organising travel money card, buying things to take away,  packing, moving out of our apartment and cleaning it thoroughly before the tenant moved in. I also had three events to style right before I went, in between working two jobs and catch up dinners/lunches with everyone before we left. I wouldn't say my trip has been entirely relaxing since I've been away either with the constant travel and doing so many things. But it's been absolutely amazing so far and I feel more relaxed, I guess coz I'm doing things I want to do rather than all the things I had to do before I left. Anyway we finally arrived in Brazil and crossed in to Foz, a small city on the Brazilian side of the falls. Most people we spoke to before our travels said to go to both sides. When we asked what was best people either had differing opinions on what they preferred or just told us we needed to see both, so that's what we were doing. We got to our hostel after catching another local bus and it was quiet, nice hostel, good for one night. It looked like it had previously been someone's huge house with a driveway, pool, backyard and balcony but now converted in to a hostel and had quite a homely feel to it. We were pretty buggered after a big day walking around, coming off an overnight bus so rested in our room for a little before sorting out money and dinner. We had a bit of trouble trying to get money out as none of the ATMs we tried were accepting our card. We finally found one that did. We then went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner that the hostel recommended. We didn't have high expectations coz Foz wasn't the nicest city and the area we were in wasn't the best but it actually turned out pretty good! My quesadilla was huge and delicious with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Matts chicken tacos were good too. We even got free margaritas through a voucher pamphlet the hostel had which were also good! We also ordered churros with dulce de leche and ice cream for dessert! Brazilians speak Portuguese so just as we could get by with Spanish we now had to learn a new language. This was now tested at our first restaurant and there were some similar words to Spanish but we knew nothing, not even what thank you was. I felt a bit rude and kept saying Gracias or Spanish words which meant nothing to the waiter haha. This is how we must have started out in Cuba! After dinner we got some rest for our second day of visiting the falls tomorrow. 

Brazilian side 

We took it easy this morning and went to have our free hostel brekky when we woke up which was also a good selection of fruit, make your own toasties with ham, cheese and bread, coconut and chocolate cake and tea/coffee etc. We then packed up our stuff, checked out and walked to the bus stop down the road to catch the bus back to the Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side. We were kind of not as excited today and a bit more casual about it as we had already seen it from the Argentinian side yesterday. But we were very glad we could experience both sides of the falls as you will find out they both have completely different things to offer.  This time it was an open air bus, instead of a train that drove us to the start of the falls. We walked down to the first view point and saw the falls from more of a panoramic view of what we saw yesterday. It is quite spectacular seeing the vast scenery and all the waterfalls cascading over the cliffs down to the river. You could see a better view of the length of the river on this side. We continued walking. This time, instead of lots of different trails, it was just the one path you walked along. It was definitely a different view and seeing more falls and things you couldn't see yesterday. A good spot where you saw multiple falls flowing in to a large Rockpool/plateau and then running off again into the river. A couple of rainbows were popping up here aswell. Looking up the river you could again see Devil's Throat. We continued walking to it where there was another platform we could walk out to get a better view. You couldn't see from the Argentinian side how the falls kept continuing around along the cliff from Devil's Throat forming a gigantic and powerful waterfall. It was amazing! This platform was was built on top of a cliff below and it felt like you were walking along the waterfall with the water gushing underneath you and near enough to the cliff where you could see the water tumbling over the edge. Again we were getting sprayed with water coz we were so close. It was packed with people on the platform, I did a good job at just pushing past this time, considering that's what everyone else does. And wow! What a view!! There was just all these waterfalls dropping in to the river surrounding Devil's Throat. The mist was rising back up but this time you were at a far enough distance to see a spectacular view and also a brilliant rainbow cast from one side of the river to the other below. So so so amazing!! I've never witnessed such magnificence! The Iguazu Falls was a real beauty, absolutely enormous and truly impressive! We tried to get a few snaps amongst the crowd and without getting the camera too wet. This walk was a lot quicker. We were now at the end so went up the elevator to the observation deck which wasn't that great a view as what we had already seen and then got some lunch at the food court which was situated right next to the wetland/plateau area and prices were a bit more reasonable than the Argentinian side. Afterwards, we got back on the two buses to our hostel. We stopped at the supermarket on the way to get some snacks for our overnight bus to Florianopolis, as this one was only a semi cama bus and we weren't being served food. We chilled at our hostel for about 2 hours and booked our Florianopolis accommodation (private room which I was excited about coz we haven't had one in so long!) before getting a taxi to the bus station and boarding our overnight  bus :) 

Tags: amazing, argentina, brazil, devils throat, iguazu falls, magnificent, rainbow, river, water, waterfall

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