Thursday, 27 December 2012

Iguazu Falls

Our time in Argentina was feeling more like a holiday than “travelling” as we relaxed in Salta and basked in the sun, drank wine and ate too much food in Cafayate. But what reminded us that we were backpacking in Argentina was the epic bus ride to the most spectacular feature of nature I have ever seen, the Iguazu Falls.

The Iguazu Falls

We decided to catch the first bus to the national park (look for sign Portal de Cataratas) which we took from the bus station. It was a cramped little bus that took 25mins (P25 each way); we also bought a boat ride ticket (P150) that would take us right underneath the falls. There were a lot of other tour options (jeep rides and nature boat trips) which did not seem as appealing and plus park entry was also P130. There was no point in hunting for a cheaper tour operator, the park only uses one, Iguazu Jungle.

You can either take a train to the main part of the park but it was way quicker to walk. The park took about 6h to see everything ; we started with the upper circuit which was a walkway of bridges so that you could see the falls from above which allowed us to see the big picture... and it was BIG!

The falls expanded into the distance into the Brazilian side of the falls into the mist of the falling water. Something I did not expect was that it was so green! The waterfalls were surrounded by palm trees and thick vegetation all around it which reminded me that I was in fact in the jungle despite the well paved paths and wire bridges everywhere.

Views from the upper circuit
We then went to the lower circuit where we got up closer to all the individual falls, and got sprayed a little. There were many small waterfalls that were all individually named like Chico (small) and Dos Hermanas(two sisters). The coolest individual fall was definitely Bossetti, he was definitely the most photogenic.
Harry and the Bossetti waterfall
I swear that's not Photoshopped
After getting some more cracking shots on the lower circuit, we headed to our boat ride. We were given life vests and dry bags where we made sure our valuables would be dry which meant I still had the option to take my camera on board but bring a bathing suit! You will get SOAKED!!
Once we took all our photos under the falls, it was time to put the cameras away and drive right up to the falls where we got absolutely drenched! The waves from the sheer force of the falls made it feel like we were whit water rafting. So much fun... and then they took us back again for round two!

Another group getting taken right up to the falls
Happy and dry
THAT is the beast we went next to! Its not a waterfall, its a
cascading flood!
Sadly it only went on for 12mins but it was well worth it! Dripping wet, we left the boat and tried to dry of in the sun. With both circuits done, it was time to see the greatest part of the park, Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) which was our second of the many “Devil’s Throats” in Argentina.
For this part, we had to take the train which was pretty packed. We got to see a nice part of the jungle before we walked along the long bridge on top of the falls to the far side, looking onto the Brazilian side of the falls.
The long walk way to Garganta del Diablo
Words could not describe how overwhelming and powerful these falls were. What was incredible was how calm the water flowing above the falls was before it plunged with incredible forces down the overhang into the plunge pool below.
 I can’t remember how long we were up there but I realised there was no way I would never be able to describe that experience to anyone so I did my best to capture it on camera. If a picture says a thousand words, I would have completed a novel up there.
check out that evaporation!
Breath-taking views
The Brazilian side of the falls
Reluctant to leave because my camera was getting wet, we walked back to the train stop and headed out the park as we had to catch a bus to Buenos Aires. I couldn't believe was had be there for 6h but it had been one of the most memorable full days we had had along with Machu Picchu, Semuc Champey and Salarde Uyuni.

Getting and staying there
Coming from Cafayate, we took a bus to Salta at 10.30am (P75, 3.5h). We had already booked our bus going to Puerto Iguazu for 4pm via the, pretty average company Tigre Iguazu.

By law, there was no actual bus that went directly from Salta to Puero Iguazu so we had to take 3 different buses to complete the total 24h ride! The bus route was:

Salta à Resistencia Terminal (CHACO)  4pm – 6am (14h)  P362
CHACO à Posadas Terminal (Misiones) 6am – 10am (5h)  P162
Misiones à Puetro Iguazu  10am – 4pm (6h)  [cannot remember the price but similar to the second leg]

In Puetro Iguazu, we ended up staying in a dump of a hostel if there ever was one, Puerto de Iguazu. It was cheap (P50, 10 bed dorm) but it was for a reason. 

The room was hot and sweaty, the bathroom had never been cleaned and had no shower curtain so that when you showered, the entire bathroom was soaked! On the plus side, the breakfast was actually good. Thankfully we were only crashing there for one night.

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