Its my first day in Argentina and also my first day of straightening my hair since we left home 4 weeks ago! It feels so nice not to have a full on lions mane on my head! Yesterday we said a sad farewell to Brazil, but we are excited for the next part of the adventure in Argentina. We are staying in a lovely little hostel here in Puerto Iguazu (the town closest to the waterfalls on the Argentinian side) called Bambu, and last night we sat at the bar eating (very delicious) pizza, drinking beer and sharing stories with other backpackers. We woke this morning for breakfast, and saw they were serving RICE AND BEANS! WTF? Is this normal? We opted for a slice of toast and cup of coffee instead! And then on to the falls it is… (But first a little about our border crossing!)
Crossing the border from Foz De Iguazu to Argentina is meant to be pretty simple but surprise surprise, for us it seemed to take a really long time! We were told by the hostel which stop to go to and that the bus was every 30 minutes, but after an hour one still hadn’t come. We attempted to ask people at the bus stop if this was the correct place and they told us it was, so we waited (in 30° heat with nowhere to sit may I add). After about 15 minutes we saw a bus coming down the hill saying Argentina, but it didnt stop, it was too full. So we waited again, and after about 30 mins another one came. It was also extremely full but he stopped anyway and we managed to squeez just inside the front door with all of our luggage. At the Brazilian side of the border we had to get off as we needed an exit stamp and when we got off the bus drove away and left us! Even though it took us 2 minutes to get the stamp. So there we were waiting again. Luckily another bus came after not too long and we jumped on and this one actually waited for us at the Argentinian border so we arrived finally, around 4 hours later than we had expected to!
The Falls –
The bus takes about 45 minutes from the terminal and costs A$150 (£7) return, which you have to pay in cash. The entrance to the park costs A$500 (£22) and also has to be paid in cash. I’d highly recommended getting cash out the night before your trip as we spent over an hour running around town trying to get enough cash out as one bank had ran out of money, the other had a HUGE queue and then we realised we could only take A$2000 out and that wasn’t enough for both of us so we had to go back and get another bank card to take out more, which was a bit of a stressful start to the day.
We arrived at the national park around mid-day (again, later than we had planned due to the cash machine debacle). Around 80% of the waterfalls are on the Argentinian side and there is a lot more walking so you need alot more time here than you do on the Brazil side. I’d recommend giving yourself around 6-7 hours (and wear comfortable shoes). There are 2 main trails, the Superior and the Inferior – basically meaning upper and lower – which allow you to view the waterfalls from both the bottom and the top. Along the trails there are many lookout points, and I guess maybe it’s because its a lot bigger here, but it never felt too crowded or cramped as it had on the Brazil side. We wandered around the trails being more utterly amazed at each view than we had been at the previous one. It somehow just managed to get better and better!
Seeing them from the top or the bottom however wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to get up close and personal! So we booked on to do the boat ride. As we were walking along the path to the departure point we saw people coming off dripping wet but smiling ear to ear, then saw another boat almost disappear underneath one of the falls. We couldn’t wait to get in! And it was without a doubt the most fun if had since arriving here! You get seriously wet, but its so exhilarating to be submerged under the power of the water and look up at it from the bottom, crashing down on top of you. Scott’s sunglasses will forever lie in the Iguazu river having come flying off his face with a big spray of water. Word of warning, you may want to bring a spare set of clothes and also take your shoes off before you go on!
There is another trail which takes you to the very top of the Devils Throat, which is the biggest part of the falls. We saved this one for last and I’m so glad we did as this absolutely was the climax! You need to take a little train up and then walk along a pretty lengthy boardwalk across the river, but as you are nearing the top you begin to hear the thundering roar of the water cascading down 80m. Its deafening! What you see first is the spray billowing up from what looks like a crater on top of a volcano. As you get closer and look over that edge its just unreal. Just utterly mindblowing. Again what struck me was the sheer volume of water, I couldn’t believe that it just continues to fall at that speed every day and every night! Its completely mesmerising to watch, like fire, and as I stood there I thought to myself that I would never forget that moment.
After seeing the panoramic view from Brazil I kind of thought I would know what to expect when we saw it from this side but this 100% was not the case! Seeing this unfathomable creation of other nature is something you can never prepare yourself for and something I will never being to be able to put into words. Its impossible to explain how it makes you feel, like you have just been given an impossibly valueable gift. I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls in my life and I’m sure I will see many more, but I genuinely dont think anything will ever compare to that! But hey, I’ll keep searching!